International & Exchange  Student CentreWestern International

Working Off-Campus

General Information

Effective from June 1, 2014, full-time students at designated learning institutions are:

To be able to work in Canada, however, you must be registered and enrolled at your designated learning institution, and you must get a Social Insurance Number from Service Canada.”1

Western University is a designated learning institution. Western's Designated Learning Institution Number (DLI #): O19375892122. 

Please see below for more information on the eligibility criteria and authorized hours of work.

NOTE:  “It is your responsibility and your employer’s responsibility to ensure that you are eligible to work off campus without a work permit before you begin working. If you begin working off campus without meeting the eligibility requirements, you may be subject to enforcement action under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.”2


New Regulations as of June 1, 2014

I already applied for or have an Off-Campus Work Permit

“On June 1, 2014, if you hold a study permit and a work permit under the Off-Campus Work Permit Program, you may continue to work off campus under your existing Off-Campus Work Permit.

On June 1, 2014, if you hold a study permit and you have applied for but not yet received your Off-Campus Work Permit, you should wait for your work permit application to be processed and begin working off campus once you have received your Off-Campus Work Permit.”3

I did not apply for an Off-Campus Work Permit

“On June 1, 2014, if you hold a study permit but you have not yet applied for an Off-Campus Work Permit, you are authorized to work off campus without a work permit as long as you meet the eligibility requirements for working off campus.

If you apply for a study permit on or after June 1, 2014, the conditions relating to your eligibility to work off-campus will be written on your study permit."4

Who is Eligible to Work Off-Campus?

From June 1, 2014, to be eligible to work off-campus without a work permit, international students must:

  • have a valid study permit;
  • be a full-time student enrolled at a designated learning institution;
  • be enrolled in a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program, or a vocational training program at the secondary level offered in Quebec;
  • the program of study must be at least six month or more in duration and one that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate; and
  • the student must continue to fulfil the terms and conditions of their study permit, as well as the conditions to engage in off campus work (e.g., work no more than 20 hours a week during a regular academic session).5

International students who are taking courses or a program that does not lead to a degree, diploma or certificate are not eligible to work off-campus. 

Students are ineligible if any of the following apply:

  • “they are a visiting or exchange student;
  • they are registered in a general interest program; or
  • they are registered in an English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) program.”6

Use CIC’s self-assessment tool online to check your eligibility to work off campus.

How Many Hours Can I Work?

Eligible international students “can work up to 20 hours per week during their regular academic sessions and full-time during scheduled breaks (e.g., winter/summer holidays, reading week) and during the transition period to a post-graduation work permit (if applicable).  Students who are registered as full-time students during summer academic sessions (May to August) may only work up to 20 hours per week during that period. […]

There are no legal restrictions preventing students from working on-campus in addition to working the maximum 20 hours per week off-campus.”7

“Students must hold full-time status during the academic session prior to, as well as subsequent to, their scheduled break. Each scheduled break should not be more than four months consecutively and students are not eligible to work full-time if the institution allows for back-to-back scheduled breaks. Essentially, taking into account reading breaks and the winter holiday, students may only work off campus on a full-time basis for no longer than five months during each calendar year.”8

“Some intensive programs may not have scheduled breaks. Students participating in such programs may work a maximum of 20 hours per week during the entire program of study.”9 

NOTE: According to the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, full-time graduate students at Western may not be employed on or off campus for more than an average of 10 hours per week in any term. (http://grad.uwo.ca/current_students/regulations/4.html)


Student Responsibilities

“It is your responsibility and your employer’s responsibility to ensure that you are eligible to work off campus without a work permit before you begin working. If you begin working off campus without meeting the eligibility requirements, you may be subject to enforcement action under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.”10

“Students who fail to comply with the terms and conditions of their study permits are considered non-compliant. Students who become ineligible and who do not cease working would be violating the conditions of their study permit. Non-compliance may also result in enforcement action taken by the Canada Border Services Agency, or invalidation of the study permit. It may also negatively affect future applications made under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its regulations.”11 

NOTE: You must continue to meet the criteria in order to continue working off campus.  “Students must cease working off-campus as soon as their status changes (e.g., a student may begin an academic session on a full-time basis and become part-time during the same session as they drop courses).”12

Social Insurance Number

A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is not required to apply for a job. However, you are required to have a Social Insurance Number in order to be employed in Canada (your employer cannot pay you without it).

Instructions on how to apply for a Social Insurance Number.

Working After Graduation

Transition to Post-Graduation Work Permits

Effective from June 1, 2014, international students who would like to work full-time without a work permit after the completion of their studies must first submit an application for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (before the expiry of their Study Permit).  You will then be allowed to start full-time work while you are waiting for Citizenship and Immigration Canada to issue a decision on your Post-Graduation Work Permit application.   

For more information, please see Regulation 186(w).

Useful Information