Canada is a top-ranking destination for international students. It has some of the world’s most sought-after universities and offers a unique student life experience.

Studying in Canada is also a prominent pathway for international students thinking in the long term about settling in Canada.

Personal finances are a top priority for international students in Canada

Fortunately, international students in Canada have the option of working if they are enrolled in a program of study at a post-secondary designated learning institution (DLI). There is no separate work permit required. The program of study must exceed six months in length and lead to a professional certification.

International students may work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and full-time during scheduled academic breaks like reading weeks or over the summer holidays, provided they will return to full-time studies.

International students are allowed to have more than one job while they are studying in Canada.

Once an international student has completed their program of study, they may be eligible to work full-time in Canada by getting a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

The PGWP exists to help international students gain additional work experience, which may assist those seeking to transition to permanent residents. Many permanent residence pathways in Canada cater to those with Canadian work experience and a PGWP allows international graduates to gain that experience while establishing more roots in their communities and contributing to Canada’s economy.

PGWPs are valid for up to three years depending on the length of the program of study.

If a student does not get a work permit before their study permit expires, they will not be eligible to live and work in Canada after their program of study is completed.

How to start job hunting

If an international student’s program of study meets the necessary length and certification requirements, there are still some steps to take before being able to work as an international student in Canada.

First, those who wish to work require a Social Insurance Number (SIN), a unique nine-digit number assigned by Service Canada. It allows the government to track employment history in Canada and ensure that people are paying the correct level of income tax, as well as track hours worked. Everyone who works in Canada must have one, whether they are a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or a temporary resident.

International students must also wait until their program of study has started before being eligible to work. If they arrive in the summer before their program starts, they cannot work until their first class in September.

While waiting, they can use the time to find accommodation, go over their resumes (CVs) and think about how much time to spend working while balancing a course load and their health.

Creating a resume

When updating a resume, the University of Toronto career center advises international students, especially those with limited work experience, to highlight all their strengths, skills, and experiences – including paid and unpaid work, extracurricular activities, and volunteering experience. This can include unpaid work done for a family business.

It is not necessary to include personal information such as age, marital status, nationality, visa status, social insurance number, or a photo.

Where can international students find part-time jobs in Canada?

Most international students choose to live on or near their campus so it makes the most sense to look for jobs nearby to reduce commuting time and cost.

On-campus jobs are advertised in several ways. Most frequently, they are found on job boards, the school’s career centre or student union building, or at career fairs.

Off campus, most job hunting is done online. Canada’s Job Bank typically lists part-time, positions that are suited for international students.

LinkedIn and Indeed are both popular websites for job seekers in Canada. There are several job websites in Canada to help start your search. Some of the most popular include:

How much are international students paid?

All Canadian provinces have a minimum wage and international students should expect to make this as a minimum, per-hour rate. Anything above it is up to their employer.

British Columbia$15.65As of 06/01/2022
Alberta$15.00As of 06/26/2019
Saskatchewan$13.00As of 10/01/2022. Set to increase to $14.00 on 10/01/2023, then to $15.00 on 10/01/2024.
Manitoba$13.50As of 10/01/2022. Set to increase to $14.15 on 04/01/2023, then to $15.30 on 10/01/2023.
Ontario$15.50As of 10/01/2022
Quebec$14.25As of 05/01/2022
Newfoundland and Labrador$13.70As of 10/01/2022. Set to increase to $14.50 on 04/01/2023, then to $15.00 on 10/01/2023.
New Brunswick$13.75As of 10/01/2022. Set to increase to $14.75 on 04/01/2023.
Prince Edward Island$14.50As of 01/01/2023. Set to increase to $15.00 on 10/01/2023.
Nova Scotia$13.60As of 10/01/2022. Set to increase to $14.50 on 04/01/2023, then to $15.00 on 10/01/2023.
Northwest Territories$15.20As of 09/01/2021
Nunavut$16.00As of 04/01/2020
Yukon$15.70As of 04/01/2022. Set to increase to $16.77 on 04/01/2023.

The wage for servers and bartenders in Canada is typically lower than minimum wage and varies by province. However, in Canada it is customary for bar and restaurant patrons to tip their servers and bartenders anywhere from 10% to 20% of the purchase price of their food or drink. In many instances, those who work in the restaurant industry can make more money than those who make the full minimum wage.

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