Working part-time in Canada: Everything int’l students should know

working part-time in canada
A pedestrian walks along shops in the Byward Market in Ottawa, Canada. Source: Dave Chan/AFP

Heading to the Great White North for university? If you’ve got an offer to study in Canada, you’re probably also considering getting a part-time job. 

Working while studying is extremely common among international students. By working part-time in Canada, not only do you get to offset your expenses, but you also gain a variety of skills and experiences. 

The best part? There are endless part-time jobs in Canada to consider, from working at a library to becoming a bartender or dog walker. You can choose to work on-campus, off-campus, or opt for a co-op or internship placement.

However, before you start applying for work, it’s important to note that working part-time in Canada as an international student comes with its own set of rules and regulations.

Confused about the working regulations in Canada? Fret not, we’ve compiled everything you’ll need to know about securing a part-time job in Canada. 

working part-time in canada

There are endless part-time jobs in Canada to consider applying for, from working at a gas station or library to becoming a bartender or dog walker and more. Source: Araya Doheny/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

What to know about working part-time in Canada

Go through your study permit guidelines 

The best thing about working part-time in Canada is that you only need your study permit to secure a job. 

It’s essential to go through your study permit guidelines on what you can and cannot do. The Canadian government notes that if you’re able to work during your studies, it’ll say so in the conditions on your study permit.

It’s worth noting that if your study permit doesn’t have work conditions on it, you can ask to have these conditions added if you’re eligible to work off-campus.

Some of the general rules surrounding work include: 

  • Students can work up to 20 hours per week when school is in session
  • Students are allowed to work full-time during semester breaks 

It is also essential to take note of the average minimum wage per hour — this varies by province. According to Yocket, it can be between 11 Canadian dollars to CA$16.

You cannot work off-campus without a work permit if:

  • Your study permit says you aren’t authorised to work off-campus while you study
  • You’re only enrolled in an English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) programme
  • You’re only taking general interest courses
  • You’re only taking courses required to be accepted into a full-time programme
  • Your situation changes and you no longer meet all of the requirements to work off-campus

“If any of these situations apply to you, and you want to work while studying in Canada, you need to apply for a work permit,” notes the government.

Apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) 

To work in Canada, you will first need to obtain a SIN number — a nine-digit number issued by the government that gives you access to various government programmes and benefits. 

It’s completely free to apply for a SIN number, and you can apply for it online, in-person or by mail. 

working part-time in canada

Tutoring is among many common part-time jobs in Canada. Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Open a Canadian bank account 

Aside from managing your financial needs and expenses, a Canadian bank account is also necessary for you to receive your salary. 

According to Logic Publishers, popular banks among international students include Scotiabank, CIBC, RBC, BMO and Bank of China. 

Be prepared to pay taxes 

Any Canadian-earned income is taxable in Canada, meaning that a sum of your salary (usually around 15 to 20%) will be automatically deducted. For instance, if you earn CA$1,200 a month, approximately CA$200 will be deducted from your salary. You may also need to report any income earned from outside of Canada. 

Contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) if you have questions about filing your tax return in Canada. You may be able to get help at free tax clinics too.

Ultimately, once you understand the process, you’ll realise it’s not as complicated as you think. If you’re not sure which job to apply for, keep a look out at your university’s job bulletin board or online job platforms. Good luck!