Employer alert: Canada reducing off-campus hours of work for international students

3 minute read
23 April 2024


Canada's temporary waiver of the 20-hour-per-week limit on the number of hours that international students are allowed to work during academic sessions is scheduled to end on April 30, 2024.

As of the date of this bulletin, there have been no announcements on whether the special policy may be extended or modified. 

Therefore, employers should assume that eligible international students working under their study permits will have to revert to the traditional maximum hours of work rules for off-campus employment after April 30. These rules are as follows:

  • Up to 20 hours per week during academic sessions; and
  • Up to full-time hours during "regularly scheduled breaks." A "regularly scheduled break" must be a part of the school's academic calendar and cannot be longer than 150 days.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's (IRCC) guideline on the off-campus work regime provides further information on eligibility and allowable hours of work.

Employer takeaways

  • Employers must ensure that any international students they employ are eligible to work off campus and that they do not exceed allowed hours of work.
  • Employers currently employing international students under the off-campus work regime will need to reduce the hours of work to 20 hours per week if the student is working during an academic session. Employers should take immediate steps to audit their workforce and to adjust work schedules prior to May 1, 2024.
  • Employers should also review their employment agreements and obtain employment law advice regarding reducing hours of work, as there may be employment law issues to consider.

The rules around off-campus work, co-op work and transitioning to a Post-Grad Work Permit are complex and rife with pitfalls. Employers are required under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to exercise due diligence to ensure that they do not allow foreign nationals to engage in unauthorized work. 

Please contact a member of the Gowling WLG immigration team if you require further information or advice on any immigration or work permit matters.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. Information made available on this website in any form is for information purposes only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. You should not rely on, or take or fail to take any action based upon this information. Never disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking legal advice because of something you have read on this website. Gowling WLG professionals will be pleased to discuss resolutions to specific legal concerns you may have.
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