What You Need to Know About Working in Canada as a Student

In one of our previous posts, we shared how you can apply for Canada’s SDS program. As an international student, you get to enjoy several benefits both for yourself and your family. Canada is home to highly reputable Universities and Colleges that are a huge draw for students from all over the world, and international students in Canada enjoy all of the benefits of studying in the country, including job opportunities, the possibility of obtaining permanent residence status, and eventual citizenship.

In this guide, we will share what you need to know about working in Canada as a student.

What You Need to Know About Working in Canada as a Student

Guide to Working in Canada as a Student

Working while studying in Canada provides valuable work experience, especially if you intend to seek PR (permanent residence) later.
On a Canadian student visa, you are permitted to work 20 hours a week in a paid job. However, this is the maximum amount of hours you can work, and you are free to work fewer hours. Students enrolling in challenging or rigorous courses are usually advised by universities to work a maximum of 12 hours per week. This is because working for more than this amount can have an impact on a student’s academic achievement. So, if you believe you are unable to maintain a work-study-life balance, you might minimise the number of working hours.

Benefits of Studying in Canada

The quality of education in Canada is a crucial element in recruiting international students. The high academic requirements and stringent quality controls in Canada represent the high-quality education delivered, which aids in a successful future and enhances an individual’s profession in the long run.

1. World-renowned Universities

Every year, over 200,000 elite international students choose to study in Canada. Canada leads the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in terms of educational investment per capita. Internationally, Canadian institutions are renowned for their high academic standards and emphasis on research in postsecondary education.

2. Commitment to Culture

In Canada, a lively cultural life is required; in fact, diversity is mandated by government policy. Almost every cultural group on the planet is represented, bringing with them everything from unique perspectives to gastronomic pleasures to interesting recreational pursuits. The country’s largest cities, Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto, are renowned as safe, accessible, and culturally rich world-class cities with beaches, museums, restaurants, and shopping malls.

3. One of the best places to live

The high rankings and reputation for friendliness are nice, but it’s difficult to beat the United Nations’ eight consecutive years of top rankings as one of the world’s top three places to live. A variety of freedoms protect Canadians, and immigrants and international students benefit from these freedoms as well.

As a result, the country has an extraordinarily stable and tranquil society with low crime and violence rates.

4. Low Unemployment Rate

International graduates in Canada have excellent job chances. More than 5,000 global partnership agreements are linked to the country’s colleges. When this is combined with Canada’s emphasis on industry-specific applied research, it’s no wonder that more than 90% of Canadian alums are employed within six months of graduation.

5. Tech-Driven

Canada is at the forefront of computer and information technology on a global scale, particularly in telecommunications, medical equipment and devices, aeronautical engineering, lasers, biotechnology, ocean and environmental research, and so on.

6. Natural Splendour

With 42 national sites and many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Canada also excels in terms of magnificent natural landscapes. The environment is diverse, ranging from a magnificent shoreline to wide open prairies and the scenic Rocky Mountains.
Filling out a visa application can feel like a whole day’s work for people who wish to live and study in Canada, and it’s fraught with traps where one incorrectly ticked box might leave you in the waiting category rather than the recognised and accepted one. This lengthy document procedure may leave you puzzled and confused, but don’t worry since Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) are here to help you every step of the way.

7. A New Home Away From Home

The introduction of the 1971 Multiculturalism Policy of Canada, which recognizes the rights of all people regardless of race, ethnic origin, language, or religion, made Canada the first country to legally declare multiculturalism as a policy. This worldview creates a happy environment rich in cross-national respect, as well as steadily increasing rates of naturalisation.
Canada’s diversity is an exceptional asset in today’s global marketplace, not only because of its incomparable cultural understanding but also because of its citizens’ multilingualism. It’s no surprise, then, that Canada is regarded as a top language training destination. English is spoken by almost one billion Canadians, whereas French is spoken by 250 million. International students increase their personal and professional fluency by taking advantage of our “English as a Second Language” and “French as a Second Language” programs.

8. Canadian Gov’t Treats Education As Top Priority

The International Education Strategy of Canada recently stated a goal of increasing the number of full-time international students to 450,000 by 2022. The Canadian Council of Ministers of Education prioritizes foreign student recruitment in education sectors through a variety of initiatives. The plan focuses not only on recruiting but also on retention after graduation, by providing additional options for Canadian students to work overseas while studying and then remain in the nation as permanent citizens.

Top Part-Time Work in Canada for Students

Part-time job salaries can vary depending on the task you do. The average hourly wage for part-time employment is C$ 22, however, students are paid by the hour for part-time labour, which is roughly CAD 10/hour. In addition, pay for part-time labour can vary by city. That said, it’s best to check with your preferred city and then with your employer first to decide on which job can best support you while studying.

Here’s a shortlist of the highest-paying part-time work in Canada:

  • Customer Service Representative – C$ 14
  • Cook – C$ 13-15
  • Clerk – C$15
  • Sales associate – C$ 12
  • Teacher – C$ 20-22
  • Web designer – C$ 20
  • Merchandiser – C$ 13

What You Need to Know About Working in Canada as a Student

What is the Minimum Wage for Students in Canada?

Across the world, the minimum wage is the least hourly wage an employer must pay workers.

In Canada, the provinces are responsible for deciding the minimum wage because federal legislation grants them this authority. There are various minimum wage rates (depending on the province and type of job) and a specific student wage rate.

Each Canadian province and territory establishes the minimum pay for employees and has distinct labor regulations under the legislation.

In earlier years, the federal government established minimum wage rates for workers in federal jurisdiction industries. However, in 1996, everything changed. The federal minimum wage has been reduced to the general adult minimum pay rate of the province or territory in which the work is performed.

Furthermore, workers in classes such as managerial employees, students in training, registered apprentices, commission-only salespeople, rehabilitation program participants, students specified vocations, and so on may be excluded from general coverage.

Some jurisdictions permit lower pay for liquor servers, other tip earners, or inexperienced staff.

Students under the age of 18 who work 28 hours per week or less while school is in session are normally subject to minimum wage rates. The rate, however, also applies to students who work during the summer or school breaks.

International students studying in Canada, on the other hand, can work a maximum of 20 hours per week when school is in session and full-time during scheduled school breaks (such as summer holidays, winter closure, reading week, etc.)

Minimum Wage in Canada for Students and Adult Workers by Province

As mentioned the minimum wage in Canada is determined by each province a worker is designated in. Listed below are the prescribed minimum hourly wage per region:


Minimum Wage (per hour):

C$15.00 – General workers.

C$13.00 – Students under 18 working during a school break, summer holidays, or 28 hours/week or less when school is in session.

Date of Effectivity: October 1, 2018

British Columbia (BC)

Minimum Wage (per hour):

C$14.60 – General workers.

C$13.95 – Liquor servers.

Date of Effectivity: June 1, 2020

Add’l Information: The minimum wage in BC increased to C$15.20 on June 1, 2021.


Minimum Wage (per hour):

C$11.90 – General workers.

C$12.50 – Security guards and workers in the construction industry.

Date of Effectivity: October 1, 2020

Add’l Information: The upcoming change in the minimum wage for general workers will be on October 1, 2021.

Manitoba’s minimum wage is modified every October 1 depending on Manitoba’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous calendar year.

New Brunswick

Minimum Wage (per hour):


Date of Effectivity: April 1, 2020

Add’l Information: The minimum wage in New Brunswick is adjusted every April 1 based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous calendar year.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Minimum Wage (per hour):


Date of Effectivity: October 1, 2020

Add’l Information: Minimum wage adjustment occurs every April 1, relative to the previous year’s Consumer Price Index (CPI).

There will be additional increases of C$0.25 on April 1, 2021, and C$0.25 on October 1, 2021.

Northwest Territories

Minimum Wage (per hour):


Date of Effectivity: April 1, 2018

Nova Scotia

Minimum Wage (per hour):

C$12.55 – Experienced workers.

C$11.05 – Workers with no experience.

Date of Effectivity: April 1, 2020

Add’l Information:

The Nova Scotia minimum wage is evaluated annually on April 1st, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January through November of the previous year.

On April 1, 2021, the minimum wage in Nova Scotia will increase to C$13.10.

On April 1, 2022, the base wage computation will revert to the CPI formula.


Minimum Wage (per hour):


Date of Effectivity: April 1, 2020

Add’l Information: Nunavut’s minimum wage is adjusted yearly on April 1


Minimum Wage (per hour):

C$14.25 – General workers.

C$13.40 – Students under age 18 working during summer holidays, school break, or less than 28 hours/week when school is in session.

C$12.45 – Liquor servers.

C$15.40 – Homeworkers (including students, and it’s above the student wage).

Date of Effectivity: October 1, 2020

Add’l Information: The minimum wage will be reviewed every October 1, based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous year.

Prince Edward Island (PEI)

Minimum Wage (per hour):

C $12.85

Date of Effectivity: April 1, 2020

Add’l Information: The minimum wage in Prince Edward Island will increase to $13.00 on April 1, 2021


Minimum Wage (per hour):

C$13.10 – General workers.

C$10.45 – Workers receiving tips.

Date of Effectivity: May 1, 2020


Minimum Wage (per hour):


Date of Effectivity: October 1, 2020

Add’l Information: The minimum wage is adjusted every October 1. It depends on the average changes in the Saskatchewan Consumer Price Index (CPI), and in the average hourly wage for the previous year.


Minimum Wage (per hour):


Date of Effectivity: April 1, 2020

Add’l Information:

The minimum wage is adjusted every April 1, based on the previous year’s Consumer Price Index (CPI).

* NOTE: The federal minimum wage is equal to the provincial minimum pay in the province where the work is performed.

Minimum Wage Given to International Students who work in Canada while Studying

As an international student studying at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada, you are permitted to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during the academic year and full-time (up to 40 hours per week) during planned school breaks and vacations (e.g. spring break, winter break, or summer holidays).

An international student working part-time can expect to earn between $800 and CAD 1,500 per month, while a student working full-time can expect to earn between $1,600 and CAD 3,000 per month. Remember that there will be tax deductions, so budget accordingly.

International students studying in Canada are eligible for a wide range of employment/work opportunities, including:

  • Work On-Campus at the educational institution where you are studying.
  • Work Off-Campus.
  • Work as a Co-op Student or Intern. This is only applicable to some academic programs, where work experience is part of the curriculum.

PRO TIP: Even if you do not require extra income as an international student studying in Canada, it is advised that you work during your studies. This is advantageous since you will obtain excellent job experience that will benefit you when/if you decide to work in Canada after finishing your studies.

Studying in Canada as a foreign student is in itself, an advantage already. Still, what’s great about the Canadian government is that they allow for their international students to legally work and take on part-time jobs to support themselves, as well as to take advantage of the opportunities in the host country that the student’s home country is not likely capable of providing to international students. If you do everything right, you can get the most out of your international study experience and at the same time, strategically position yourself towards achieving your career goals and trajectory once you finish your international studies and return to your homeland.

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