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Working Off-Campus

As of June 1st, 2014, students holding a valid Study Permit to study at the post-secondary* level in Canada are allowed to work off-campus on a part-time basis for up to 20 hours per week.  

(* Students studying at the Secondary level are not allowed to work. Students enrolled in English for Academic Purposes program who are studying full-time and simultaneously enrolled in a post-secondary academic program are eligible to work off-campus.)

Students must be enrolled in a full-time class load at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI); Columbia College is such an institution. All designated institutions have a Designated Learning Institution number; Columbia’s number (starting with letter O) is: O19279591302.

Students are required to remain enrolled and make "reasonably and timely" progress towards completing their program. Designated institutions will be making regular reports to CIC on students’ enrolment and progress.  Students who are not enrolled or not considered to be making progress could be removed from Canada. For more information about working off-campus, visit this page:

Students who switch from one designated institution to another (and international students are only allowed to attend designated institutions) are required to notify CIC of this change. Notification is made through their MyCIC account and there are instructions here:

Students are allowed to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during semester time, and full-time between semesters. There are no restrictions on the type of job students may take.

In order to work within Canada students must also acquire a Social Insurance Number (SIN). Students who wish to work must get a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada.  Students must apply before (or at latest, within 3 days of) the start of employment. 


How do I know if I am eligible to Work Off Campus?

You must have one of the following conditions or remarks printed on your study permit in order to apply for a SIN for off-campus work:

  • May work 20 hrs per week off-campus or full-time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in section 186(v) of IRPR
  • May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.

If your study permit contains these remarks then you can go straight to Service Canada with your passport and Study Permit to get your SIN.

If none of these conditions/remarks appear on your study permit and you are eligible to work off campus, you must submit a request for an amendment to your permit through this page:

You will need to complete form IMM1436E and in Part C, question 2 write the following:

I am applying to amend the remarks on my Study Permit as I meet the criteria outlined in section 186(v) and am therefore eligible to work off campus for 20 hours per week.

You must submit this completed form and all required documents to the address shown.  You will receive an amended study permit back.  Times will vary but this may take 4-6 weeks. We recommend that you use registered or tracked mail.

Where do I get a SIN?

To get a SIN, you need to go to a Service Canada location with your Passport and Study Permit. Click here to find the nearest location to you.

How long will it take?

Getting your SIN number does not take a long time.  However, there is often a long queue at the Service Centre so we recommend going early.  Once you have waited in line, you will get a SIN immediately on a piece of paper which you must keep safe.  You must not lose this and do not share it with anyone else.

How much does it cost?

Getting a SIN is free.

What do I need to take with me?

You need to take your passport and your Study Permit. You must take the original versions; they will not accept photocopies.