CO OP Work Permit
International students pursuing study programs in Canada that require a co-op internship program or work placement may apply for a co-op work permit. International students pursuing a study program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada that requires a mandatory work placement or internship must apply for a co-op work permit in addition to a Canadian Study Permit. The co-op work permit is a separate work permit, unrelated to the authorization to work part-time that is generally included in Canadian study permits. It is important to note that an individual applying for a co-op work permit must hold a valid study permit.
The co-op work permit may only be used for work that is essential to the program of study. Any other work undertaken by an international student — including an internship or work placement at an organization unrelated to the educational establishment, which does not give credit for the study program — is covered by the work authorization related to the study permit. Any international student unsure of whether he or she needs a co-op work permit is advised to consult his or her program adviser.
International students may be eligible to apply for the co-op work permit if they:
- Hold a valid study permit.
- Are enrolled in a study program that requires a mandatory work placement to obtain credits for the program; and
- Have a letter from the educational institution authorizing the work placement and confirming that the work placement is required for the study program.
- Further documents may be required for the application, depending on the applicant’s situation. When the international student has the required documents, he or she can apply for a co-op work permit.
The Co-op Work Permit: In Detail
- The co-op work permit allows the holder to work up to full-time during the semester, depending on the conditions of the work placement authorized by the DLI.
- The co-op work permit is required regardless of whether the mandatory work placement is paid or unpaid.
- International students may simultaneously use a co-op work permit, and the standard work authorization granted to the holder of a Canadian study permit. This means that an international student may have a job unrelated to his or her study program, at the same time as working in the mandatory work placement.
- The co-op work permit is a closed work permit, meaning it can only be utilized for one job and one employer. The employer is designated on the permit document as the educational institution authorizing the co-op placement.
- The co-op work permit will also be issued for a specific time as authorized by the coordinator of the student’s co-op work placement. Usually this will coincide with the validity of the study permit.
- There are no application fees for the co-op work permit.
An application for a co-op work permit may be submitted at the same time as the application for a study permit, or as soon as the international student has the required documentation outlined above. An international student may apply for a co-op work permit later in his or her program. However, due to processing times it is recommend that anyone enrolled in a program requiring a mandatory work placement applies for the co-op work permit sufficiently in advance of the intended start date of the placement, as a student cannot begin the placement without the co-op work permit. The application may be submitted online or by mail.