Co‑op work permit
International students who must participate in a mandatory co-op, internship, practicum, or placement (i.e. one that is a requirement for their program) must also apply for a co-op work permit. This applies whether the work is on- or off-campus, paid or unpaid, during the academic year or during the summer, and regardless of the number of hours involved.
If you are accepted directly into a program requiring an internship, you can apply for a co-op/internship work permit at the same time as you apply for your initial Study Permit. Once you receive your co-op work permit, you will also need to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN).
Because of current processing delays, students are advised to apply (in Canada) for their co-op/internship work permit six months before their internship is due to start.
Note: This application is fee exempt (i.e. free).
HOW TO APPLY ONLINE
Step 1: Log into your IRCC account through GCKey or Sign-in partner
If you are a new user, you will need to register for an online account through GCKey or Sign-in Partner.
Please save your password and username so you don't forget it.
Step 2: Click on ‘Apply to come to Canada'
You will be asked to enter a Personal Reference Code.
If you do not already have a code, go to the section, "I do not have a Personal Refence Code" and click on Visitor visa, study and/or work permit.
Answer all the questions that follow. Please use the Co-op Work Permit Eligibility Questionaire Guide available in the navigation.
Step 3: Fill in the online application form and gather supporting documentation
1. Complete the IMM 5710 Application form. Validate and save the form as an unsigned copy. You can find the guide to completing IMM5710 in the sidebar.
2. Gather the following supporting documents:
- digital photo (420x540 pixels)
- passport (only pages with stamps, visas, photos)
- co-op letter from department
Each document must be 4MB or less. Once you have all the documents ready, you should save them electronically as a pdf, jpeg or word doc.
Step 4: Upload biometrics receipt (if applicable)
If you paid $85.00 CAD for biometric collection but have not yet completed biometrics, please upload your $85.00 receipt under “Optional Documents-Client Information”. Make sure to indicate YES to biometrics in the online questionnaire or you will be charged again.
Step 5: Submit the application
Save or print your confirmation of successful transmission for your records.
After you submit your application, Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada may contact you for additional documents. If you are contacted, make an appointment with an International Student Advisor to ensure you respond accurately and punctually to the IRCC request.
I am an international student in a co-op program. Is it possible for me to apply for a co-op work permit (COWP) while outside of Canada?
If you are outside Canada and need to apply for a co-op work permit, please contact an International Student Advisor to discuss your options. Depending on your individual circumstances and plans, you might need to wait until you have returned and apply from within Canada, or apply for a new study permit and co-op work permit from outside Canada. There may be other options to consider. An International Student Advisor can help you make an informed decision on how to proceed.
I am an international student and have applied (in Canada) for my co-op work permit and it has not arrived. Can I begin my co-op work without a permit?
Students who are already in Canada, and have applied for an initial COWP, may begin their co-op placement using their valid study permit on-campus and off-campus work authorization, provided they meet all the eligibility requirements. You may temporarily use the 20hrs/week (off campus) from your study permit while waiting for your COWP to be processed. View eligibility requirements to work.
For students who have renewed their COWP, you may continue to work during your co-op work term until you receive your renewed COWP, even though the expiry date of your permit has passed while you are waiting to receive the new one. Never let your COWP expire during your co-op work term.
Can I go to the border (flagpole) to apply for a work permit (e.g. co-op work permit, post-graduation work permit)?
In general, we strongly advise against applying for a work permit at the port of entry via flagpoling. If you would like to further discuss your options on how to apply for a work permit, please contact an International Student Advisor.
Maintain your permit
The expiry date on your co-op work permit will normally coincide with the expiry date of your study permit. You may renew your co-op work permit at the same time you apply to extend your study permit. Check estimated processing times online but note that these times are not guaranteed.
What is it?
The co-op work permit allows international students to work when the work is for credit and is a required part of your Canadian academic program. A co-op work permit allows students to work full-time during regular school terms. A co-op work permit is different from an off-campus work conditions, and you may hold both if you meet the criteria for each.
A co-op work permit is necessary for paid and unpaid work because co-op work is considered competitive work in Canada.
Why do I need it?
If you are enrolled in a co-op program, you are required to have a co-op work permit before you start your work term. Your co-op work permit will list the employer as “Dalhousie” and will allow you to work for any authorized co-op work term. This work permit only allows you to do the job approved by your co-op program within your co-op work term. Remember, even if your co-op or internship is unpaid, you still need to apply for a co-op work permit because a co-op/internship is competitive work.
When do I need it?
You may start your application for a co-op work permit as soon as you receive the letter from your co-op coordinator confirming your acceptance into the co-op program at Dalhousie.