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How To Apply For Co-op Work Permits In Canada

International students pursuing academic studies in Canada that need a work placement or co-op internship program can apply for a co-op work permit.

These foreign students pursuing an academic program at a Designated higher Learning Institution such as colleges or universities in Canada that requires a compulsory internship can apply for a co-op work permit in addition to a Canadian Study Permit.

The co-op work permit is different from work permit and unrelated to the authorization to work part-time that is mostly included in Canadian study permits. It is essential to note that a person applying for a co-op work permit should hold a valid study permit.

The co-op work permit can only be used for work that is important and connected to the program of study. Any other work taken by an international student — including work placement or an internship at an organization not related to the educational establishment, which doesn’t give credit for the study program — is covered by the work authorization connected to the study permit.

Any international student not sure of whether he or she requires a co-op work permit is advised to ask his or her program adviser.

Work Experience Essential to the Study program

Work experience is defined as essential to the study program if it is taken for program credits, and is needed in order for the international student to complete his or her studies.

  • International students undertaking employment, either paid or unpaid, in order to complete the study program require a co-op work permit.
  • Authorization is also needed from the educational institution in order to get a co-op work permit and begin the compulsory work experience.
  • Such work experience can’t account for more than half of the program of study.
  • Work experience crucial to the study program is considered to include but is not limited to: clinical work; fieldwork; volunteer work; practicums; or internships, paid or unpaid.

Eligibility Criteria for Co-op Work Permits In Canada

International students may qualify to apply for the co-op work permit if they:

  • Have a valid study permit;
  • Are register in a program of study that requires a compulsory work placement in order to acquire credits for the program; and
  • Have a letter from the academic institution authorizing the work placement, and confirming that the work placement is essential for the study program.

Supporting documents may be needed for the application, depending on the applicant’s situation. When the international student has the necessary documents, he or she can apply for a co-op work permit.