International & Exchange  Student CentreWestern International

Working and Volunteering

As an international student, you should ensure that you have the funding level required by Citizenship and Immigration Canada before entering university studies and you should NOT expect that working in Canada while studying will be enough to cover tuition and living expenses. It is also important to consider the academic demands of your program before applying for jobs, particularly if it is your first year of university studies in Canada.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada states that:

Applicants must "have sufficient financial resources to pay their tuition fees, transportation costs to and from Canada, as well as living expenses for themselves and any family members who may be accompanying them, without the need to engage in employment."1

Work Permits in Canada

As a general rule, anyone who is not a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident must have a Work Permit for all work in Canada.

Under the Foreign Worker Regulations, an “employer may need to get a labour market opinion (LMO) to hire you. This is a document from the Government of Canada that gives your employer permission to hire a foreign worker.”2 However, there are some special exemptions which apply to international students.

International students who fit within the categories defined by Citizenship & Immigration Canada need a work permit but do not need a labour market opinion (LMO) from the Government of Canada (i.e., are not subject to the availability of Canadian workers).

Volunteering in Canada

Volunteering is a wonderful opportunity to get involved, to be active and meet and get to know people in your community. It is also a chance for you to enhance your skills, gain Canadian career-related experience and to learn about different aspects of the Canadian culture.

Note: In some situations, volunteering in Canada requires a work permit.

There are many volunteer optotunities available within Western International, Western University and within the London community.

Social Insurance Number

You must have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada. Without one, you cannot be paid.

Know Your Rights

All workers in Ontario are protected by the Employment Standards Act, a government document which states the minimum workplace standards that employers are legally required to follow. This includes the minimum amount of money a worker must be paid (minimum wage), the number of breaks a worker is entitled to during a shift, illness and safety issues and a number of other topics.

Find out more information about your rights as a Temporary Foreign Worker.