Work as a Co-op Student or Intern in Canada

If you are an international student and you wish to participate in a Co-op or Internship work term you must apply for a Co-op Work Permit.

Disclaimer: The immigration information on this website is not a legal document and policies may be updated without notice. Please always refer to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for the most up-to-date information.

During COVID-19, please always check the latest information that may affect international students.

  1. How do I know if I am eligible to apply for the Co‑op Work Permit?

Who is eligible: You can apply for a Co-op Work Permit if

  • you have a valid study permit,
  • work is required to complete your study program in Canada,
  • you have a letter from your school that confirms all students in your program need to complete work placements to get their degree, and,
  • your co-op placement or internship totals 50% or less of your study program.

Who's NOT eligible: You can not apply for a Co-op Work Permit if

  • you are enrolled in English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL),
  • general interest courses, or
  • courses to prepare for another study program.
  1. Do I need to pay for the Co-op Work Permit application?

No. There is no fee required for a Co-op Work Permit.

  1. When should I apply for the Co-op Work Permit?

  • You can ONLY apply for a co-op work permit when in Canada.
  • If you are in Canada, you can apply for it along with your initial study permit or study permit extension. (Students who may apply for the initial study permit within Canada, please visit here.)
  • If you don’t have the Co-op Work Permit you should apply for it at least 6 months before your co-op/internship starts.

Note: Always check the expiry date of your Study Permit and Passport. The expiry date of passport affects the expiry date of your Study Permit, and the expiry date of the Study Permit impacts the expiry date of your Co-op Work Permit.

  1. What documents do I need for my Co-op Work Permit application?

It depends on whether you are a new student or current student, your application portal may ask for different documents. But generally, you may need to provide:

  • A Letter of Acceptance (for new students only, this is also called LOA), please check the email sent by International Admissions for your admission at Camosun.
  • A Letter of Enrollment (for current students only)
  • A Co-op letter (for current students planning to do co-op or internship)
  • A valid Passport
  • Biometrics
  • Other documents that your portal asks you to submit
  1. How can I apply for a Co-op Work Permit?

The application method depends on if you have applied for your study permit or not. Please see the following scenarios:

Scenario A: You have NOT applied for your initial study permit or for an extension.
You can apply for a co-op work permit at the same time you are applying for/extending a study permit if you are in Canada. You must be eligible to apply for a study permit within Canada in this case. Your Letter of Acceptance (LoA) must state that a co-op or internship placement is part of your program. 

Scenario B: You have applied for your study permit.
There are two situations:

  • If you are Abroad: You can no longer apply for the co-op work permit from abroad.
  • If you are in Canada: You MUST apply online for your co-op work permit. You can ONLY submit a paper application if either:
    • you can’t apply online because of a disability
    • there’s a problem with the online application
  1. What if I want to apply for my initial Co‑op Work Permit within Canada?

Before your application, you MUST:

After you receive the Co-op work permit:
Please email a copy of your permit. It gets uploaded into your file.

Note: Please check with our Employment Facilitator Karena Dachsel to confirm if co-op is mandatory in your program.

  1. Can I still work off-campus while I am doing Co‑op?

Yes. You may still be able to work off-campus up to 20 hours each week in Regular Terms while you are in a co-op term if you meet the eligibility to work off-campus.

  1. Can I still work on‑campus while I am doing Co‑op?

Yes. You may still be able to work on-campus without the working hours limit while you are in a co-op term if you meet the eligibility to work on-campus (Please check the hyperlink for the definition of “on-campus” job. Also, please always adjust the working hours of your on/off-campus job so that your co-op job hours won’t be affected).

  1. Can I keep doing my Co-op while I am waiting for my Co‑op Work Permit extension result?

Yes, you can. Because you have maintained status if you complete the Co-op Work Permit extension in Canada before your current one expires AND send a confirmation email of applying for co-op work permit extension to the co-op and career office showing that you have applied to extend your study permit. This will help you keep having access to the co-op job board. As a temporary resident you have the right to continue working or studying under the same conditions pending a determination of your application for extension. You will have maintained status only if you remain IN Canada.
Reminder: Please never let your Co-op Work Permit expire during your co-op work term. 

  1. Do I still have maintained status if I leave Canada after I complete my Co-op Work Permit extension in Canada?

No, you don’t. A temporary resident with maintained status who has left Canada,

  • may not resume work or study in Canada until their application for renewal has been granted and must satisfy the border services officer that they have sufficient means of support
  • apply for a new work or study permit at the port of entry (POE), provided they have a right to do so under the regulations.

Important: During Covid-19, we don’t recommend students to apply for the work or study permit at the port of entry because you may not be allowed to re-enter Canada.

For students who need to do Practicum:
(Practicum is NOT Co‑op/Internship)

Before your application, you MUST:

  • connect with the International Academic Advisor via to discuss your study plan
  • connect with your program’s Practicum coordinator, Program Leader or Chair, for practicum
  • request a Practicum Letter through International Student Letter Request form (please enter your information on the online form as it is written in your LOA so that there is consistent information)
  • find your Letter of Acceptance that was sent by the International Admissions

After you receive the work permit:
Please email international_advisors@camosun.caa copy of your permit. It gets uploaded into your file.

Additional Resources