Working in Canada

Working in Canada

Moving to a new country to begin your career can be a big challenge, but your BCom will give you an excellent foundation to succeed here. You’ll also get lots of support from the UBC Sauder School of Business to gain exposure to the Canadian workplace, form connections in the local community and earn money to support your studies.

Programs and events

If you are an international student, getting some work experience in Canada will help you advance your career more quickly, whether you decide to stay here after graduation or not. We can help you get started.

Launch a Career in Canada is the largest networking event dedicated to supporting international students for career development at UBC. Every year, over 200 international students are provided with the opportunity to connect with employers and UBC international alumni, learn more about the Canadian job market, and gain practical tips on establishing their careers in Canada.

Work permits

As an international student, there are several types of work available to you in Canada. Some will require a specific work permit. Use the table below to determine the work regulations you need to follow. Get more information about the changes by visiting the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website.

Type of work
Work permit required

You do not need a work permit to work on campus while attending UBC. Your study permit gives you permission to accept on-campus employment as long as you’re registered in full-time studies. There are however, certain conditions you must observe to work on campus. 

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Off-campus (up to 20 hrs/week during regular study periods) 

You do not need a work permit to work off campus while attending UBC, as your study permit gives you permission to accept off-campus employment as long as you’re registered in full-time studies. There are, however, certain conditions you must observe to work off campus. 

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Co-op or internship (if the work is integral to your academic program) 

Co-op work permit - The co-op work permit allows international students to work when the work is for credit and is a required part of your Canadian academic program. It allows students to work full-time during regular school terms. A co-op work permit is different from an off-campus work permit, and you may hold both if you meet the criteria for each.

You can start your application for a co-op work permit as soon as you receive confirmation that you’ve been accepted into the Co-op Program. 

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Volunteer (unpaid) 

Some volunteer positions may be considered work. For example, volunteering for a job that is normally performed by paid employees (photocopying, customer service, etc.) is considered work regardless of whether you are paid or not. Review the definition of work according to the CIC to decide.

If your volunteer position is considered work, you need to follow the relevant work regulations (e.g. on- or off-campus work conditions).

After you graduate

Post-graduation work permit - A post-graduation work permit applies to graduates of Canadian post-secondary institutions and gives you permission to remain in Canada as a full-time worker for up to three years.

As soon as your final marks are available or you receive notice of completion of your studies, you have 90 days in which to apply for a post-graduation work permit. The date of your graduation ceremony does not affect the application period. You do not need a job offer to apply for a post-graduation work permit. 

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Work for a spouse or common-law partner

Spouse/partner work permit - If you are an international student studying full-time with a valid study permit, your spouse or common-law partner can apply for an open work permit. An open work permit enables your spouse or partner to work on or off campus full-time while you study. 

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