On October 7, 2022, Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, the Honourable Sean Fraser, announced a pilot project to temporarily lift the weekly twenty-hour off-campus working limit for international students studying full-time in Canada. The pilot project is set to last just over a year, from November 15, 2022, until December 31, 2023. Moreover, foreign nationals who submitted study permit applications as of October 7, 2022, will also benefit from the temporary change, provided their applications are approved. Other rules regarding international students’ eligibility for work permits continue to apply.

The twenty-hour limit typically applies during a student’s academic year, which usually runs from the start of September to late April, but not during “breaks” in the school year, such as the Christmas break or the summer break, which runs from May to August. International students authorized to work off-campus may work full time—without limits on hours—during such breaks. If the academic program a student is enrolled in does not have scheduled breaks, then the twenty-hour limit on off-campus work applies. Even though a student may be employed by more than one employer, the limit on hours worked off-campus each week applies to the student himself or herself, not any given position.

News of the temporary lift of the twenty-hour limit comes at a time when unemployment in Canada is reaching all-time lows but vacancies for various employment opportunities remain high. Employers across Canada will likely welcome this pilot project, which aims to address the discrepancy between the number of open positions relative to number of available applicants.

Hugh A. Christie is the managing partner of the Toronto office of Ogletree Deakins.

Ryan Martin is an associate in the Montréal office of Ogletree Deakins.

John T. Wilkinson is a 2022 graduate of Queen’s University, Faculty of Law, and he is an articling student in the Toronto office of Ogletree Deakins.


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