If you worked in any of these countries, you could be due a Tax Refund

Working while studying in Canada only with a study permit

#TaxTipsCanada #Featured

Wondering if you can earn some extra cash while you’re studying in Canada?

The good news is that you may be able to work in Canada while on a study permit. You will however have to meet the requirements to work and have all the paperwork complete. 

International students have the option to work on or off campus. If you don’t have a work permit, you will be able to start working when you start studying if your study permit has a line that says you can work in Canada on or off campus. 

You may risk losing your study permit if you start work and don’t have a valid work permit before you start studying in Canada. You may also have to leave Canada. 

You can request an amendment of your study permit if you are an international student and want to work without a work permit but your study permit doesn’t include the line that allows you to work in Canada. You can find more information on how to amend your study permit here

You can also apply for urgent processing if you’re at risk of losing an employment opportunity and your study permit is not amended on time. You will need to prove this by including the original letter from your employer showing this requirement with the application and write “URGENT” on the envelope. Without a document proving the urgency, your application will be put into the normal mail.

You will be unable to amend your study permit and must apply to change the conditions of your study permit and pay the fee if your study permit says “This permit does not permit the holder to engage in off campus employment in Canada” and you have transferred into an eligible study program that allows you to work. You will need to apply for a SIN after you amended your study permit.

Working on-campus

This means you can work at the building on your school campus. You are allowed to work for the school, faculty member, student organization, private business or run a business which is physically on the campus. 

You must meet all of the below requirements when your permit allows you to work on campus:

  • Be a full-time post-secondary student at any of the following: 

- public post-secondary school (college or university)

- private college level school in Quebec that operates under the same rules as public schools

- Canadian private school that, under provincial law, can legally award degrees

  • Have a valid study permit
  • Have a SIN (Social Insurance Number)


It is important to note that you have to stop working when: 

  • your study permit expires, or
  • you stop studying full time, or
  • you’re switching schools and aren’t currently studying

You are also not allowed work while you’re on an authorized leave from studying. Authorized leave includes medical, family or other reasons beyond your control for example a change in your educational program or a strike.

Working off-campus

Working-off campus means you are working outside of your school. You and your employer must check if you’re eligible to work off-campus before you start your employment. 

In order to work off-campus as an international student you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be a full time student at a school accepted by a provincial or territorial government to host international students
  • Be registered in a post-secondary program or if you are in Quebec in a secondary level of a vocational training program
  • The length of your program has to be a minimum of 6 months and results with a degree, diploma or certificate
  • Your study permit includes a line that lets you work off campus
  • Your classes have begun
  • You have a SIN

If your situation changes and you don’t meet the requirements anymore you will have to stop working or you’ll have to leave Canada and wait at least 6 months before applying for a new study permit. 

It is also important to note that if you are enrolled only in English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) program, you can’t work off campus.

How many hours can international students work in Canada?

If you’re an international student you are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during your regular terms and semesters. During scheduled breaks/holidays (winter and summer holidays and spring break) you can work full-time. 

There is no set number of hours per week for full time work, the employer must follow the same laws for overtime payment and time between shifts. You are allowed to work overtime and for more than one employer while on scheduled holidays. 

However, if your program has no scheduled holidays you are only allowed to work 20 hours per week. 

A measure that was introduced to support international students in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic is removing the 20 hour limit for students working in an essential service. 

Essential services would include health care, supply of food, delivery services and other critical infrastructures. This is effective until 31 August, 2020. Check here to see if you qualify.  

How do international students file taxes?

Your employer is required to deduct taxes from your income when you are working in Canada. International students are usually considered non-residents for tax purposes as they don’t have enough residential ties in Canada. 

As a non-resident you can’t use NETFILE or EFILE options to file a tax return, you have to mail your return to the tax office. 

NETFILE and EFILE can only be used by residents or immigrants in Canada. It is a good idea to get help from a tax agent or check out all your requirements for filing on the CRA website if you are only in Canada for a short time period. 

Taxback.com has provided tax services for non-residents in Canada for more than 20 years. We will help you get your maximum legal refund while staying fully compliant with the CRA. We also transfer your refund straight to your bank account anywhere in the world.

If you want to check if you are due a tax refund, you can register here.

Can International Students claim the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)?

 The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) is a measure that was introduced to support young people in Canada during COVID-19. 

The purpose of this is to provide students and recent graduates with financial relief if they can’t work or find work due to this pandemic.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) eligibility criteria

Unfortunately, the support is not available for international students in Canada. However, it is available for Canadian students studying outside of Canada if they meet the requirements. 

Working students can avail of the support if they earn a gross income of less than $1,000 over four weeks.

If you applied or are receiving the CERB or EI you can’t avail of the Canada emergency student benefit.

You can apply if you are one of the following:

  • Canadian citizen
  • Registered Indian
  • Permanent resident
  • Protected person student in Canada

To be eligible students must relate to one of the following:

  • enrolled in a post-secondary educational program (of at least 12 weeks) that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate
  • post-secondary students that completed their education in December 2019 or later
  • students that ended their high school studies in 2020 and have applied for post-secondary studies that start before February 1, 2021

The amount that can be received is $1,250 per month for eligible students or $2,000 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. 

The CESB is a taxable benefit and you should include it on the 2020 tax return after the end of the tax year.  

What are the eligible periods for CESB?

The benefit will be available from May to August 2020 for the following periods:

Eligibilty period Amount
May 10 to June 6, 2020

$1,250 or $2,000

Depending on your eligibility

June 7 to July 4, 2020

$1,250 or $2,000

Depending on your eligibility

July 5 to August 1, 2020

$1,250 or $2,000

Depending on your eligibility

August 2 to August 29,2020

$1,250 or $2,000

Depending on your eligibility

You must re-apply for another 4 week period if you are still eligible to get the benefit.

How do I apply for the emergency student benefit in Canada?

The application will be available only for Canadians through their CRA account in “My Account” or “My Service Canada”.

You must be actively looking for a job if you’re able to work to get the CESB.

There are specific dates for people to apply. You can check here to see when you can apply. The deadline for all applications is September 30, 2020. 

The average Canadian tax refund is $998


About The Author

Louise Murphy - Marketing Associate @ Taxback.com

Louise is a Marketing Associate at Taxback.com.

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