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Working In Canada

Assiniboine International employs a Registered International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA). She can offer basic advice to students about study permits and work permits. (She cannot complete applications for you, and cannot represent you.)

There are several opportunities for full-time international students to work in Canada. At Assiniboine, a "full-time student" is registered in at least 18 credits in each four month term.

On-Campus Work

You may work on-campus if you are a full-time student. However, Assiniboine has very, very few jobs for students.

Who is eligible to work on-campus?

You can work on-campus if you meet all of these IRCC requirements:

  • You are registered as a full-time student at Assiniboine. (It would be OK to be registered part-time in the final term before completing your program.)
  • Your program has started
  • A condition is written on your study permit allowing work on-campus; often this sentence will start with “May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria…”.
  • You have a Social Insurance Number (see FAQ below about SIN) If you have doubts, please email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, and explain your doubt.
What does “on-campus” mean?
  • Work in an Assiniboine campus building—whether the employer is the college itself, or an associated organization (examples: bookstore, daycare, cafeteria, Students’ Association).
  • Work outside of an Assiniboine campus building IF the employer is the college (example: a college event at a banquet facility outside of campus).
Who is not eligible to work on-campus?

You cannot work on-campus in any of the following situations:

  • You are registered as a part-time student. (But it’s OK to be registered part-time in your final term before completing your program.)
  • Your study permit does not include the condition allowing you to work on-campus.
  • You are on an “unscheduled” break. This is a break that you chose, not a break scheduled by the college for your program/intake. Examples of unscheduled breaks:
  1. You failed course(s) and could not retake them until a later term, and therefore have no classes scheduled in at least one term.
  2. You are on “restriction” or “suspension” from the college, for academic (grades) and/or disciplinary reasons; generally this will mean an 8 month unscheduled break.
  3. You owe the college money from earlier terms and therefore cannot be registered in a term, which results in an unscheduled break.
  4. You are not studying during a regular term: examples: medical reasons or choosing to leave Manitoba for a number of weeks.
  5. You withdraw from all courses during a regular term.
  6. You are switching schools, or programs at the same school, and therefore are not studying. If you have doubts, please email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, and explain your doubt.
When can students start working on-campus?

You can start working on-campus on the first day of your program.

How many hours can students work on-campus?

If you meet all of IRCC’s eligibility requirements (from FAQ above), you can work unlimited hours on-campus.

If you also have an off-campus job, you must follow IRCC rules for hours off-campus.

Note: Even though IRCC allows unlimited hours on-campus, it may not be a good idea for you. You still must balance your work, studies and health. If you work so many hours that you will receive poor grades and/or your health suffers, please reduce your hours and ask college staff for help! If you have doubts, please email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, and explain your doubt.

Do I need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work on-campus?

Yes. An employer cannot pay you without an SIN.

You can look for a job, or even accept a job offer, before you have the SIN. But you should get the SIN before you begin working.

  • You can apply online (answer to question about status in Canada is “temporary resident”) and system will give you a list of documents required. OR…
  • To apply in-person at a Service Canada office, take a valid photo ID (like driver’s license or passport) and your study permit. Take original hard copies, not scan/copy/photo.

Apply when you:

  • are in Canada
  • have a study permit with the condition allowing you to work on-campus
  • have an acceptable document showing the most up to date Canadian address
I failed a course. Can I work on-campus?

Maybe—but maybe not. It will depend on whether the failed course either makes you a part-time student and/or creates a gap in study for you. Please email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, and explain your doubt.

I have become a part-time student. Can I work on-campus?

Generally, no. Part-time students cannot work.

The only exception is if the part-time term (semester) is your final term—in other words, if you will complete your college program at the end of that term. If it is your final term, you can work on-campus.

I left college for some weeks during the term (semester) to visit my family. Can I work on-campus when I return?

Maybe—but maybe not. Missing weeks of college can create major difficulties—you may not be able to pass your courses, and may even be “un-registered” from classes. This could make you a part-time student and/or create a gap in study for you. Please discuss your situation with your program Student Success Advisor or Chair before making travel arrangements. After you have done that, you can email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, with details about dates, to ask about working.

I have to make a decision about my studies and I have doubts about working on-campus. Who should I talk to before making this decision?

Start with your program Student Success Advisor or Chair—so you understand the academic options for your decision. After you have done that, you can email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, to ask about working. Your Student Success Advisor or Chair is also welcome to consult with Assiniboine International as they guide you about the academic options.

We strongly recommend you ask questions before making any decision to change your studies (like dropping courses, or taking an unscheduled break, or changing programs).

I have applied for a study permit extension, but I received no decision from IRCC yet. Can I work on-campus?

Yes, if

  • you continue to meet all eligibility requirements to work on-campus (see Who is eligible to work on-campus? FAQ above); and
  • you applied for the study permit extension before the expiry date on the study permit.

IRCC calls this “maintained status”. But if you have a doubt, you can email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, and explain your doubt.

Where can I read more information about working on-campus?

Co-Op/Practicum Work

If your program has a required "practicum" or "cooperative education" course, whether paid or unpaid, you must apply for a "co-op work permit" for Assiniboine. You cannot use a co-op permit from another school. This is different than working part-time if your study permit allows (you can do both the "co-op" or "practicum" hours AND part-time work).

Apply for the Co-op Permit

What is a co-op work permit (CWP)?

Many college programs include one or more required courses called “co-op work placements” or “practicums” or “applied practical skills”. Students in these programs have work experience placement(s) with a local business or organization. A CWP is required by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for a student to do a work placement while studying at ACC, even if the work placement is unpaid.

A CWP is a different document than a study permit, although they look very similar. A CWP will list the words “work permit” near the top of the document. The CWP must list Assiniboine Community College as the employer. If you have a CWP that lists a different employer because you applied to or studied at a different DLI, please email international@assiniboine.net for further information.

If you applied for your study permit outside Canada using Assiniboine’s letter of acceptance, you likely received both documents (a study permit and a CWP) when you entered Canada.

The CWP allows you to only work within the “co-op work placement” or “practicum” or “applied practical skills” course(s) within your program.

Who needs a co-op work permit?


Two ways you can see whether you need one:

  1. Look at your letter of acceptance, page 2, section 24. If that section says “Required”, you need a co-op work permit.
  2. Look at the list of courses on your program’s webpage, under the “Courses and Costs” tab. (Look at both years if it’s a two year program). If your program’s list of courses includes any course named “co-op work placement” or “practicum” or “applied practical skills”, you need a co-op work permit.
When should I apply for a co-op work permit?

As early as possible! IRCC’s processing time can be very long.

Follow ONE of the recommendations below, depending on your situation:

  1. You will apply for your study permit using Assiniboine’s letter of acceptance: apply for the study permit and co-op work permit together, on the same application. Use this link to apply. OR
  2. You already have applied for (or received) a study permit (because you used a different school’s letter of acceptance to apply for it), and your study permit will not expire before the end of Assiniboine’s program: apply for only the co-op work permit, but as soon as possible. The college will send you a “co-op letter” about one week after your program starts; use that letter. Use this link to apply. OR
  3. You already have applied for (or received) a study permit (because you used a different school’s letter of acceptance to apply for it), but your study permit will expire before the end of Assiniboine’s program: apply for both a study permit extension and the co-op work permit, together on the same application. The college will send you a “co-op letter” about one week after your program starts; use that letter for the co-op work permit part of the application. IRCC’s online application will also guide you about other documents needed for the study permit extension application. Use this link to apply. If you are unsure when you should apply, email international@assiniboine.net with your question, your student ID number, and your study permit expiry date (if you have a study permit already).
How do I apply for a co-op work permit?

This will depend on when you apply. See FAQ above and use the link matching your situation.

What document do I need from the college to apply for a co-op work permit?

Information about the co-op requirement will be on two letters from the college:

  1. Your letter of acceptance, page 2, section 24; and
  2. A “co-op letter” we will email you about one week after your program starts.

Use one of these documents, depending on when you apply.

  • If you apply before your program starts, use the letter of acceptance.
  • If you apply after the program starts, use the “co-op letter” and/or your letter of acceptance.

Also see FAQ above for information about when to apply.

What is the fee to apply for a co-op work permit?

There is no fee to apply for a co-op work permit.

Is a co-op work permit required?

Generally, yes, a co-op work permit is required. If you do your work experience placement without it, you are violating your study permit conditions, which could cause problems with future applications to IRCC.

There may be some exceptions between November 2022 and December 2023, but most students will require a co-op work permit. If you have any doubt about what you read on IRCC’s website during that time, apply for a co-op work permit, to be sure. Remember—there is no fee to apply. If you are unsure of whether you need a co-op work permit, email international@assiniboine.net with your question, your student ID number, and your study permit expiry date (if you have a study permit already).

How many hours can I work at the placement, on a co-op work permit?

You can work as many hours as are required by your “co-op” or “practicum” or “applied practical skills” course placement. Your instructor(s) can guide you about this.

When you finish all hours needed for the course, you must stop using the co-op work permit and work only part-time (on your study permit) again.

Can I work at my co-op/practicum placement and another (part-time) job?

Yes. During the weeks of your course’s placement only, you can do both the placement and your part-time job.

Remember, the placement hours are on the co-op work permit, but your part-time job hours are on the study permit. During the weeks of your course’s placement only, you are using both permits.

When you finish all hours needed for the course placement, you must work only part-time hours on the study permit again.

How can I answer employer questions about co-op work permit?

See these FAQS; please share link with your employer if that helps you.

Where can I read more information about co-op work permit?

See IRCC’s website.

When we email you the “co-op letter” after your program starts, we will include information in the email. Keep the email so you can use that information when you need it. Also see Assiniboine’s video about application.

Off-Campus Work

Most full-time international students in a post-secondary or advanced diploma program can use their study permit to work part-time off-campus for up to 20 hours per week and full-time during college-scheduled breaks. (English for Academic Purposes or Mature Student HIgh School students cannot work off-campus.) Check your study permit; it should include a condition allowing you to work part-time.

You must remain a full-time student in every term (semester), with the exception of college-scheduled breaks and your final term. More information is available here.

Who is eligible to work off-campus?

You can work off-campus if you meet all of these IRCC requirements:

  • You are registered as a full-time student at Assiniboine. (It would be OK to be part-time in the final term before completing your program.)
  • You are registered in a post-secondary program at Assiniboine
  • Your program has started
  • A condition is written on your study permit allowing work off-campus; often this sentence will start with “May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria…”.
  • You have a Social Insurance Number (see FAQ below about SIN)

If you have doubts, please email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, and explain your doubt

Who is not eligible to work off-campus?

You cannot work off-campus in any of the following situations:

  • You are registered as a part-time student. (But it’s OK to be part-time in your final term before completing your program.)
  • You are studying English for Academic Purposes or Mature Student High School. Students studying English or secondary school cannot work off-campus.
  • Your study permit does not include the condition allowing you to work off-campus.
  • You are on an “unscheduled” break. “Unscheduled” means a break that you chose, not a break scheduled by the college for your program/intake. Examples of unscheduled breaks:
  1. You failed course(s) and could not retake them until a later term, and therefore have no classes scheduled in at least one term.
  2. You are on “restriction” or “suspension” from the college, for academic (grades) and/or disciplinary reasons; generally this will mean an 8 month unscheduled break.
  3. You owe the college money from earlier terms and therefore cannot be registered in a term, which results in an unscheduled break.
  4. You are not registered during a regular term: examples: medical reasons or choosing to leave Manitoba for a number of weeks.
  5. You withdraw from all courses during a regular term.
  6. You are switching schools, or programs at the same school, and therefore are not studying.

If you have doubts, please email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, and explain your doubt.

When can students start working off-campus?

You can start working off-campus on the first day of your program.

How many hours can students work off-campus?

If you meet all of IRCC’s eligibility requirements (from FAQ above), you can work:

  • 20 hours/week maximum during regular college terms/semesters
  • Full-time during scheduled breaks (at least one week in length) for your program/intake

Temporary Change: From November 15, 2022 to December 31, 2023, some students can work more than 20 hours/week during regular college terms. This will apply only to students who meet all of these requirements:

  • You applied for your current study permit (or study permit extension) on or before October 7, 2022; AND
  • Your study permit does not expire before December 31, 2023; AND
  • You meet all of IRCC’s eligibility requirements (from FAQ above).

Note: Even if you meet the requirements for unlimited hours, it may not be a good idea for you. You still must balance your work, studies and health. If you work so many hours that you will receive poor grades and/or your health suffers, please reduce your hours and ask for help! If you have doubts, please email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, and explain your doubt.

Do I need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work off-campus?


Yes. An employer cannot pay you without an SIN.

You can look for a job, or even accept a job offer, before you have the SIN. But you should get the SIN before you begin working.

  • To apply online, use link here (answer to question about status in Canada is “temporary resident”) and system will give you a list of documents required. OR…
  • To apply in-person at a Service Canada office, take a valid photo ID (like driver’s license or passport) and your study permit. Take original hard copies, not scan/copy/photo.

Apply when you:

  • are in Canada
  • have a study permit with the condition allowing you to work off-campus
  • have an acceptable document showing the most up to date Canadian address
I failed a course. Can I work off-campus?

Maybe—but maybe not. It will depend on whether the failed course either makes you a part-time student and/or creates an unscheduled break for you. Please email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, and explain your doubt.

I have become a part-time student. Can I work off-campus?

Generally, no. Part-time students cannot work.

The only exception is if the part-time term (semester) is your final term—in other words, if you will complete your college program at the end of that term. If it is your final term, you can work off-campus.

I left college for some weeks during the term (semester) to visit my family. Can I work off-campus when I return?

Maybe—but maybe not. Missing weeks of college can create major difficulties—you may not be able to pass your courses, and may even be “un-registered” from classes. This could make you a part-time student and/or create a gap in study for you. Please discuss your situation with your program Student Success Advisor or Chair before making travel arrangements. After you have done that, you can email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, with details about dates, to ask about working.

I have to make a decision about my studies and I have doubts about working off-campus. Who should I talk to before making this decision?

Start with your program Student Success Advisor or Chair—so you understand the academic options for your decision. After you have done that, you can email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, to ask about working. Your Student Success Advisor or Chair is also welcome to consult with Assiniboine International as they guide you about the academic options.

We strongly recommend you ask questions before making any decision to change your studies (like dropping courses, or taking an unscheduled break, or changing programs).

I have applied for a study permit extension, but I received no decision from IRCC yet. Can I work off-campus?

Yes, if

  • you continue to meet all eligibility requirements to work off-campus (see Who is eligible to work off-campus? FAQ above); and
  • you applied for the study permit extension before the expiry date on the study permit.

IRCC calls this “maintained status”. But if you have a doubt, you can email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, and explain your doubt.

How can I answer employer questions about working as an international student?

See these FAQS; please share link with your employer if that helps you.

Where can I read more information about working off-campus?

Volunteer Work

You may volunteer in Canadian organizations, to gain Canadian experience and meet more people. These positions are unpaid, and volunteers cannot do the work of regular paid employees. You do not need a work permit for these positions. Assiniboine International can suggest organizations that might interest you.

Contact Assiniboine International at international@assiniboine.net if you have questions.

Post-Graduation Work

Students who have completed a program of at least eight months may be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit that allows them to work after program completion.

You must remain a full-time student in every term (semester), with the exception of college-scheduled breaks and your final term. More information is available here.

What is a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)?

A PGWP is an “open” (usually) work permit allowing work in Canada after program completion.

Who is eligible to apply for a PGWP?

You can apply for a PGWP if:

  • You have completed an Assiniboine post-secondary or advanced diploma program of at least 8 months.
  • You maintained full-time status in every term (semester) of your program/intake (except your final semester before completion can be part-time).
  • You took no “unscheduled breaks” from your study program; all your breaks were scheduled by the college, for your program/intake.
  • Your study permit has been valid within the last 180 days, or you applied for an extension before it expired and are still waiting for IRCC’s decision about that extension.

Note: you can receive only one PGWP in your life, so apply only if you are sure you are finished your studies as an international student.

If you have doubts, or if you must make a decision about your studies, please email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, and explain your doubt. One of our Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors can guide you. We strongly recommend you ask questions before making any decision to change your studies (like dropping courses, or taking an unscheduled break, or changing programs).

Can I be sure of receiving a PGWP?

Any graduate can apply for a PGWP.

Unfortunately, Assiniboine (or any Canadian school) cannot guarantee every graduate will receive a PGWP. Graduating from an eligible program at Assiniboine is only one of the requirements, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) makes the decision. (Assiniboine does not make the decision.)

But, see this PDF for some advice about what to do during your studies, to help protect your eligibility.

What will be the length of my PGWP?

This depends on the typical length of the college program you graduated from:

  • Programs of less than two academic years: IRCC may give a PGWP of up to the same number of months as the study. For example, Office Skills is an 8 month program, so graduates may receive a PGWP of up to 8 months. (Remember, it’s one “academic” year of 8 months, not a “calendar” year of 12 months.)
  • Programs of two academic years (or more): IRCC may give a PGWP of up to 3 years. For example, Business Administration is a 2 year program, so graduates may receive a PGWP of up to 3 years.
  • Graduation from two programs: IRCC may “combine the length” of each program to determine the length of PGWP. Each program must be PGWP-eligible, and at least 8 months in length.
  • See more details about PGWP.
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) makes the decision. (Assiniboine does not make the decision.)

Note: The length of PGWP is based on the typical length of the program, not on how long you needed to complete it. For example, if you fail some courses in an 8 month program, and therefore need 16 months to complete it (because you need to repeat courses in another semester), your PGWP will still be only 8 months—not 16.

Note: You can receive only one PGWP in your life. You can’t receive one PGWP, then study a second program, and then receive a second PGWP. Our advice is to apply for a PGWP when you are sure you are finished your studies in Canada as an international student (and within the times shown in the FAQ about “When do I apply for a PGWP?).

When do I apply for a PGWP?
  • You must apply within 180 days of completing your college program, but…
  • Your “student status” becomes invalid 90 days after completing your college program or on the study permit expiry date, whichever comes first. So, if you do not apply for PGWP within 90 days of completing your college program or before the study permit expiry date (whichever comes first), you must do one of these things: 1) Apply for a visitor record to stay in Canada and apply for PGWP from inside Canada; OR 2) Leave Canada and apply for PGWP from outside Canada. 3) Note: in the above situations (visitor record, or leaving Canada), you cannot work in Canada before you receive a PGWP.
  • But, most graduates wish to apply earlier than 90 or 180 days! Graduates can apply as soon as they can receive official documents from Assiniboine confirming completion, and can submit a complete application to IRCC. See these FAQs about when and how to receive official documents from Assiniboine.

See the IRCC website for more information. Or, if you have doubts, please email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, and explain your doubt. One of our Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors can guide you.

When can I work full-time after completing my program?

See these FAQs and read the FAQ about “working after program completion”.
If you leave Canada before you apply for PGWP, this will be different. Please email international@assiniboine.net with your full name and student ID, and your likely dates of travel. One of our Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors can guide you.

How do I apply for a PGWP?

Follow instructions from IRCC’s webpage.

We strongly recommend you apply online. If you do, you use an online account to answer questions, so the online system will list the documents and fees you need, and allow you to upload documents as needed.

You can start your PGWP application online and save your work. You can return to your account for up to 60 days before finishing the application. This allows you time to gather the documents and arrange for payment, before finishing and submitting the application. Please do not use another graduate’s document and fee list, or take advice from another graduate. Your PGWP requirements may be different than that person’s, so use the information from IRCC only.

You are welcome to follow these video instructions on how to apply for PGWP, which were valid for inside Canada applications as of April 21, 2022 (information could change without notice).

How do I receive documents from the college for my PGWP application?

See these FAQs.

Note: If your study permit will expire less than two weeks after you complete your program, you should apply for a study permit extension! It could take at least two weeks after you complete for all grades to be entered and then to order and receive documents. You can apply for your PGWP if you are on “maintained status” (because you applied to extend your study permit, but you will have a problem if your study permit expires before you get your documents.

Should my spouse apply for a work permit extension after I complete my program?

This will depend on individual factors. These could include, but are not limited to:

  • 1) whether your spouse’s work permit is “open” or “employer-specific”;
  • 2) the expiry date of your spouse’s work permit and therefore when your spouse should apply; and
  • 3) whether your post-graduation job is “a high skilled occupation” (TEER category 0, 1, 2, 3 of the National Occupation Classification system).

College staff cannot legally advise about options for a spouse of a graduate. See general guidance on work permit changes or read more about family work permits.

How can I answer employer questions about PGWP?

See these FAQS; please share link with your employer if that helps you.

Where can I read more information about PGWP?

See IRCC’s website.

Also, see these FAQs about working after completion, and about documents from the college.

You are welcome to follow these video instructions on how to apply for PGWP, which were valid for inside Canada applications as of April 21, 2022 (information could change without notice).