The Canada Work & Leisure program is designed for applicants who want to come to Canada to work and travel. This program meets Canadian employers’ requirements while allowing foreign youth to earn some income to support Canada’s vacation.
Program participants can have a fantastic vacation working in Canada and experience the unique natural beauty and the adrenaline rush that can be had in this country.
Work & Holiday participants meet locals, gain international work experience, earn money to travel, and make the most of their time in Canada.
Whether you are planning to become a ski bum, a city slicker, or an outdoor traveler, let us help you start your new adventure and dive into the things you should know before heading to Canada.
Photo by Aditya Chinchure
What Is The Working Holiday Program (IEC)?
If you are between the ages of 18 and 35, the Working Holiday program (aka International Experience class) is your ticket to traveling and making good money in Canada.
The types of jobs in the program range from hospitality to corporate internships. There should be something for everyone! Depending on your country, you can travel around Canada working for up to two years.
If that is not enough, you can become a permanent resident of Canada through the Federal Skilled Worker Program. It depends on your qualifications and a valid job offer. You will need to create an online profile to be considered eligible for the program. If it is a success, you will receive an invitation to apply for a work permit, after which you can start planning your trip to Canada.
Vacation work visas are available in countries with a consensual agreement with Canada on young people’s movement. Three different Canadian programs fall into the vacation work category, all based on temporary work permits that last from 12 to 24 months, depending on your country of origin.
Brief Program Details
Age range: 18 – 35 years (inclusive; in some countries, the age limit is 30 years).
The Maximum duration is 6, 12, or 24 months from the date of entry into Canada (depends on the agreement with the home country).
Location: Vancouver or Toronto for orientation, across Canada for living and working.
Visa required: Work Permit obtained under the Working Holiday category of the Canadian International Experience Canada Initiative.
- Be a citizen of any of the many countries that have signed a Working Holiday Agreement with Canada. These countries are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Ireland, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, USA.
- Carry a valid passport of the country of residence
- You should have the funds to cover your expenses in Canada for the first three months of your stay (CAD 2,500).
- Have full medical insurance (including repatriation) valid for the duration of your stay (Canadian medical insurance is not sufficient).
Typical Jobs Available
There are many job opportunities for travelers in Canada, but sometimes they are not easy to find. Mastering the English language can help. If your English skills need improvement, you have the option of combining work and travel with a few weeks of language school.
The most popular jobs available:
Ski Resort Operations
Elevator attendant, ticket seller, equipment sales and rental clerk, guest service personnel, food and beverage server, kitchen prep, ski instructor, sports equipment technician, valet
Restaurants, Bars, Cafes And Retail Stores
Servers, chefs, food service, dishwasher, host/hostess, ushers, baker, retail clerk, cashier, inventory, and stock
Hotels And Hotels
Housekeeping, Maintenance, Kitchen, Food and Beverage Service, Guest Services, Home Reception, Receptionist.
Leisure And Tourist Attractions
It includes a tour guide, Ticket seller, Guest services, Housekeeping, Janitor, Parking attendant.
It includes a camp counselor, sports instructor, English teacher, art teacher, dance instructor, LifeGarden.
Some examples include agricultural work, construction, childcare (medical exam required), office administration, marketing, tutoring, pet sitting.
Most jobs pay between 12 and 15 Canadian dollars per hour, and many service jobs include tips in addition to wages.
How Can You Get A Working/Holiday Visa In Canada
You can create your profile on the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
Drawings are held at “regular intervals,” where candidates are randomly selected to receive an invitation to apply for a work permit until all empty spots have been filled within a year. It means that you can create a profile and become a candidate at your leisure, any time after your country’s opening date.
However, your best bet is probably to become a candidate for a work visa in Canada as early as possible, as this IEC category is particularly popular.
You might be asked to participate in one or more “pools” according to your country and work permit category. “Australia: Working Day” and “Ireland.” Young Professionals” are examples of pools.
The IRCC has committed to giving at least five days’ notice before the final round of invitations for each country and category that will mark this pool’s close for the season.
Here is how to become a candidate and receive an invitation to apply for an IEC work visa in Canada.
Become A Candidate: Step-By-Step
- Fill out the “Come to Canada” questionnaire. It is used as an initial assessment of your eligibility for an IEC work permit. If you meet the criteria, you will receive a personal code.
- Enter this code to create your account.
- Create your IEC profile.
- Submit your profile and select the IEC pool(s) you want to be in. Some applicants will only be eligible for one pool, while some may be eligible for more.
- At this point, you will have to wait to be selected, as you will need an Invitation to Apply (ITA) to continue the process. If the numbers in the pool are significantly higher than the number of permits available, it will decrease your chances of getting an ITA.
- If you receive an ITA, you will have ten days to apply for a Canada Vacation Visa or decline the invitation.
Apply For A Work Permit
- Once you click “Start Applying” to accept the ITA officially, you will have 20 days to apply for a work permit and pay all applicable fees.
- In the Young Professionals and International Cooperative IEC categories, your employer must also pay the CAD 230 fee through the Employer Portal before the 20 days are up. They will need to send you the Offer of Employment number they received so you can enter it on your application.
- Collect and upload any documents (such as police or medical certificates) requested by the IRCC. If you do not have them immediately, you can upload proof that you applied for a police or medical certificate.
- Pay the appropriate fees. For the Canada Working Holiday Visa, you will need to pay a visa participation fee of CAD 150 and an open work permit fee of CAD 100.
- The IRCC will evaluate your application and may require more documentation.
- Should your application be a success, a letter of recommendation (LOI) will be sent to your account. When you travel to Canada, take it with you, as you will need to show it to the immigration officer at your port of entry (POE), such as at the airport or the border crossing. It is where your work permit will be issued to you. You should ensure that you bring all the documents you need to arrive in Canada.
Other Program Options
The Young Professionals Program is designed for high school graduates who have already studied and are looking for work in Canada.
It can be a great opportunity to gain experience in the country and pave the way for future immigration plans or gain a global perspective on working life. It can also connect you to further work opportunities in Canada that can broaden your field of expertise.
The only basic requirement for this type of work visa is a signed letter of employment from a Canadian company. It is up to you to organize this aspect and meet other criteria before applying for the program.
If you are successful, you are issued a temporary work visa for 12-24 months, renewable, depending on how long your company desires for you to stay and what documents they can provide to motivate an extension.
Industries in which you are likely to find qualified work include:
International Co-Op Internship
International co-op internships is a great program for people who are still studying at higher education institutions in their home country. You can gain valuable work experience abroad related to your field of study.
This program is for students who intend to do an internship or work placement in Canada as part of their degree program. You will need to find work relevant to your field and meaningful in developing your skills.
The visa requirements are the same as the Canadian Work Vacation Visa, except that your application will require less flexibility in the sense that you will need to obtain a job offer to process your application.
This approval is usually only valid for 12 months, as most internships will not exceed this period. It is also essential to check if the country you are a citizen of participates in the internship program before applying.
Top Tips Before You Go To Canada On A Working Holiday Visa
You may be fully prepared with the paperwork, and you have got your ITA, but there are still some peculiarities you need to prepare for in Canada.
Here are some tips you should consider before you travel to this dynamic country:
- Plan to buy a car or familiarize yourself with the public transportation system and check this Canada Driving Guide.
- Save for expenses that arise before your first paycheck.
- Ensure you have the proper certifications for the industry you plan to work in, such as Professional Ambulance or Food Safety for the hospitality industry.
- You should apply for your tax refund at the end of your fiscal year
- Apply for travel insurance for the year
- Get a local SIM card.
- Open a bank account.
- Find an affordable money transfer application.
Jobs are available in Vancouver at any time of year. Resort jobs are only available during the summer and winter seasons. Therefore, applicants who want seasonal resort jobs should arrive at least 2-3 months in advance of the season to get a resort job.
To Sum It Up
Are you feeling excited and motivated? We hope so! If you are a little confused and perplexed, we suggest finding an immigration consultant who can answer all of your questions.
If you are undecided about your career but are willing to work in unskilled jobs with other young people (such as ski resorts) or if you are enrolled/graduated outside of Canada, you can take this opportunity as a break from your studies in Canada.
The difference between this program and others is that your fantastic trip will allow you to earn money to fund your trips while you are in the country. It is a great way to recoup any expenses you incur while on your trip.
You could also gain valuable Canadian professional work experience so you can better compete in the global economy. Your career horizons will be broadened by working with people from different cultural backgrounds and learning new ways to do business, getting to know another country, and developing your language skills.