Working in Canada

Please note the information provided below is not legal advice and is intended for general information purposes only. For the most up to date information please see the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) webpage

Full-Time Studies

Among other eligibility requirements, you must be studying full-time or on a scheduled study break to be eligible to work on or off campus during your studies. If eligible, you must wait until your classes have begun before working, and must stop working after your last exam.
For the purposes of immigration, BCIT considers international students as full-time if they are enrolled in:
Students are automatically registered in a set of courses per term, and course-by-course registration is not necessary
Scheduled Study Break: there are no scheduled classes such as winter break, spring break, or summer holiday term break (for example diploma programs on a summer break)
Students are enrolled through flexible course-by-course registration leading to a credential. Courses are offered in fall, winter and spring terms (not all courses are offered each term)
Scheduled Study Break: must have been studying full-time in the fall, winter, and spring terms, and are not registered for classes in July and August

Getting a Social Insurance Number

You must apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) before working.

Your study permit must have a condition/remark which indicates that you "may work" or "may accept employment" on and/or off campus:

If you do not have one of these conditions/remarks

Submit an International Letter Request Form, then when you have received this letter apply to:
  • Change the conditions of your study permit if the condition/remark on your study permit states “this permit does not permit the holder to engage in off campus employment in Canada” and your program has changed and you are now eligible to work (for example you were in ISEP/an ESL school then transferred to BCIT) or
  • Request to amend your study permit if your study permit does not have one of the above conditions/remarks  

If you do have one of these conditions/remarks

Go to any Service Canada office with your original study permit to request a SIN. The nearest locations near campuses are:

Working on-campus

You do not require a separate work permit, but you must meet all eligibility requirements to work on-campus.

Please see the IRCC webpage for more information on working on-campus.

BCIT on-campus employment opportunities are listed online through e-Jobs.

Working off-campus

You do not require a separate work permit, but you must meet all eligibility requirements to work off-campus

If you are studying full time, you may work up to 20 hours a week while school is in session, or full-time during a scheduled study break, if you are studying full-time before and after this period.

Please see the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada webpage for more information on working off-campus.

Information on job opportunities on and off campus is available at e-Jobs. For more information on work search resources, please see BCIT Student Employment Services.

Co-op work permit

If work (even if unpaid) is an integral part of your program and is for-credit, you must apply for a co-op work permit before beginning to work. You will need both a study permit and a separate co-op work permit.

A co-op work permit is separate from working off-campus; they are different. A co-op work permit can only be used if work is part of your academic program and it is a requirement for you to graduate, not for any other kind of work. Work must be less than 50% of the total length of the full-time program and must be directly related to your program.

If you are accepted into a full-time program with (a) co-op work term(s), apply for a study permit and a co-op work permit at the same time with your letter of acceptance. Otherwise, if you only have a study permit, submit an International Letter Request Form. When you have received this letter, apply for your co-op work permit directly with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Please note: BCIT does not issue work permits.

Unpaid work/volunteer activities

Even if you are not being paid, you might need a work permit, depending on your situation.

Please see the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada webpage for more information on when international students require a work permit.

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

Among other PGWP eligibility criteria, you must have been studying full-time in a Full-time Program or a Part-time Program that is at least 8 months long, and your study permit must be valid when you apply. You are only eligible to receive a PGWP once. 

Once you have successfully completed a credential at BCIT, you will have 90 days from the date your graduation has been processed to apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) directly with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC); BCIT does not issue work permits. The PGWP is an open work permit, which means you do not need to first find an employer; it is not job-specific.

The duration of the PGWP will depend on the length of your program. IRCC may grant a minimum of eight months to a maximum of three years to work in Canada.

As proof that you have completed all the requirements for your program of study in Canada, you will need a Letter of Verification/official transcript:
  1. After you have finished your last class, fill out the Application for BCIT Credential Form and submit this to Student Information and Enrollments Services
  2. Fill out an International Letter Request Form and pay the $20 fee. The electronic letter takes 5 business days and will be sent to your personal and BCIT email Submitting an International Letter Request form in advance will save you time since you do not have to wait another 5 business days after graduation
  3. Your grades must be uploaded and your graduation must be processed by Student Records before we can issue your letter. This process takes about four weeks from your last exam
    • You can check to see if your graduation has been processed by checking your unofficial transcript on your MyBCIT account; if it says your credential has been 'awarded', then your graduation has been processed
    • Once your graduation has been processed, we will issue your letter. At this time you can also order an official transcript
  4. After you have received your letter and/or transcript, submit this as part of your application for a Post-Graduate Work Permit with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Studying on a work permit

If you only plan to take a few courses or a short program and will complete your studies within six months, you do not require a study permit.

However, if you will work towards a credential that will take longer than six months to complete you must apply for and receive a study permit before you begin your first class. You cannot study for 6 months then apply for a study permit after.

For more information, please see the Permits and Visas Page

Taxes

You may need to file a Canadian income tax return as an international student. Your income tax return has to be filed on or before April 30th for the previous year. Please see the Canada Revenue Agency website for information on filing taxes.

Your T2202A official tax receipt will be available in your MyBCIT account from the last day in February. You can use this for tax purposes. You may also have other tax slips, such as a T4 from your employer.

If you have any questions about filing taxes, contact Canada Revenue Agency.

The BCIT Student Association organizes free tax clinics for students who meet the eligibility criteria in March and April.