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Updated 2 months ago

Canada is a number one destination to get a first professional experience. An internship in the country will help you discover North America and improve your English or your French (even both) because Canada is a bilingual country.

In Canada, any internship, may it be paid or unpaid, short or long, is considered as a job. Because of that, you need to obtain a temporary work permit or an International Co-op Internship permit. In both scenarios, you must find your internship before arriving in Canada.

Finding an internship

If you want to find an internship in Canada from your country, you can start with companies running in a domain related to your studies. You can use an online directory like 411.ca.

Do not hesitate to send your application to the companies you found, this is very common in Canada. Gather all the necessary information about the requirements for the internship permit or the International Co-op Internship permit in order to be able to explain them clearly to your future employer.

If you cannot find an internship or if you do not have a lot of time, you can also register with a recruitment agency. In general, these agencies will help you with the administrative procedures.

The Canadian résumé is a typical North American one: it spans over one to three pages and it is recommended including the contact information of two to three people who are ready to testify about the quality of your work. You can ask your professors or former employers to help you.

Obtaining a Work Permit

If your country has an agreement with Canada and if you want to do the internship during your studies, you can take part in the International Co-op Internship from the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) sends regular invitations to candidates who can then send their application. The first one happens in general in October.

In order to qualify for the International Co-op Internship, you must be between 18 and 30 (up to 35 if you are French), provide an internship agreement that you and your employer in Canada signed, present a letter from your school, have at least 2,500 CAD, register for a health-hospitalization-repatriation insurance valid for the whole period of your internship, have a return ticket or enough money before your departure to buy it. You may be requested to provide other documents like a criminal record and a health examination certificate.

The delay for an application to an International Co-op Internship takes around eight weeks. The application must be sent online on the CIC website. The permit will cost 124 CAD (in June 2017) and your employer will also have to pay 230 CAD in fees.

If your country has no agreement with Canada, you must request a temporary work permit. Your employer will have to go through the procedure before you can apply and he may be asked to pay around 1.000 CAD in fees. For further information, you can check our article "Working in Canada."

Living in Canada

Once you have your work permit, you must find a piece of accommodation in Canada. If you wait to be in Canada to start your search, you will be able to visit the various neighbourhoods and check you are not too far from your workplace. For your first week in Canada, you can book a room in a hostel, in a hotel or in a house using an application like Airbnb.

The cost of living in Canada may vary between cities and provinces. According to the yearly survey about the cost of living from the Mercer cabinet, Vancouver and Toronto are among the most expensive cities in Canada. Some cities like Quebec City, Halifax, Winnipeg and Ottawa are smaller, but they are more affordable.

In addition to the rent, you must take into account expenses for transportation, food, going out, trips and phone contract. Most of the time, it will be cheaper to live with flatmates than alone, because you will be able to share the various expenses like power and the Internet.

 Useful links :

Work and travel in Canada with International Experience Canada
Toronto Region Board of Trade
The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal
Canada Mortgage And Housing Corporation

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