How to Get an Internship in Canada

If you are looking to get an internship position in any country abroad, then I bet you will love Canada. 

Canada is a beautiful country and a perfect place for your internship abroad experience. 

Besides the beauty of the country, Canada has a very strong economy and is culturally diverse.

While in Canada, you will gain real-life work experience to boost your employability as you begin your career in today’s global marketplace. 

Imagine living in a beautiful Canadian city while spending your days off exploring the magnificent landscapes.

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime!

Now that you have an interest in doing an internship in Canada, it is most likely that you have a lot of questions to ask.

  • How can I find an internship position in Canada?
  • What are the requirements for getting an internship in Canada?
  • What types of internships are available in Canada?
  • Do I need a work permit to do an internship in Canada?  And many more questions like these ones.

In this article, you will find answers to these questions and more, so continue reading to the end.

Are there internship opportunities in Canada?

Of course, there are lots of internship opportunities in Canada.

Interestingly, these internship opportunities are spread across many fields of study and previous experience. 

Some of the areas of specialisation where you can find an internship position include:

  • Marketing, PR, Communications
  • Engineering (Chemical, Mechanical, Electrical, Environmental, Civil & more)
  • Accounting, Finance, Logistics, Human Resources
  • Tourism, Hospitality, Events
  • Gastronomy, Culinary Arts
  • Architecture
  • Computer Science, Software, IT
  • Paralegal, Law
  • Graphic Design
  • Among others…
Internship in Canada

Types of internships in Canada: Paid versus unpaid positions

As it is with every other country, there are two types of internship positions in Canada: paid and unpaid. 

Interns are not automatically considered employees under the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and are therefore not guaranteed certain rights.

While employees can also be interns, not all interns are necessarily considered employees. 

Different rights and laws apply to interns and employees, and as a student it is critical to understand the difference.

So, what is the difference?

The term “employee” is often used loosely but the ESA uses its own strict definition, which does not include everyone who contributes to the Canada workforce.

An employee is paid a wage for their work and receives training from the company to carry out their assigned tasks. 

Their work is important to the business and that business decides that employee’s wage, their responsibilities, and when and where they work.

An intern is usually considered an employee when they are trained by their employer in a skill that is used by other employees in the organization.

Should an individual fulfill these requirements, they are entitled to certain rights and treatment by their employer.

This treatment includes being paid a minimum wage, receiving overtime pay, and being limited to a maximum of 48 hours of labour per week.

For academic internships, the placement is considered legal if it is similar to that of vocational schools.

Also, the placement must benefit the intern, among other criteria.

Do companies pay interns in Canada?

It’s one thing to get an internship in Canada as an International student, however, how will you fend for yourself?

This question will obviously make you start thinking about getting paid internships. 

But first you need to consider the weight of this obligation on the part of the host company. 

Hosting an international intern in Canada requires a lot of work from the host company.

In order to host you, they will need to go through a process with the Government of Canada. 

The company is also required to pay a fee to the Canadian Government so you can work for them. 

Additionally, they are making this investment to bring you to Canada and train you, only to then have you leave a few months later.

In some cases, a host company will be willing to do this entire process and also pay you. 

However, this might occur only if you have a highly qualified and technical background that they cannot find from a candidate in Canada.

Remember that your internship experience in Canada will be a great addition to your resume. 

You will make new professional connections and stand out to employers when you return home. 

Turn this investment into a growth plan for your career! 

Completing an internship in Canada during your studies will mean that when you graduate you will already have international experience. 

There is no better way to prepare for working in today’s global market!

How much are interns paid in Canada?

The amount interns make working in Canada varies from one company to another.

While some companies pay their interns, many other do not give any stipends at all.

For those that pay interns, a lot of factors go into determining how much an intern is paid.

Some of the factors include the nature of the job as well as the size of the company.

On average, the internship salary in Canada is $38,880 per year or $19.94 per hour. 

Entry level positions start at $27,300 per year while most experienced workers make up to $66,096 per year.

How to Find an Internship in Canada as an International Student

If you are an international student and you are thinking about coming to Canada for your internship, then there are a few things you should know.

The first, and most important point, is to see if your country of citizenship holds an agreement with Canada’s International Experience Canada program

This program provides the visas and work permits that international students need to do an internship in Canada. 

You cannot do an internship in Canada without the correct permit. 

Therefore, it is very important to find out if you are able to get one.

Once you know you can legally work in Canada, you may begin your search for an internship position. 

This can be done online by applying to postings on various job sites with your resume and cover letter. 

You have to try your best here because you are competing with all the students in Canada. 

If you don’t know how to write a good CV, then you need to learn or pay someone to do it for you.

If after your application you are selected for an interview, then congratulations to you!

Do I need a work permit for an internship in Canada?

Yes, you need a work permit for an internship in Canada.

If you intend to do your internship in Canada, then you can apply for a co-op or intern work permit if you have a valid study permit. 

Also, International students who complete their post-secondary education in Canada may apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit.

The PGWP allows eligible international graduates to work in Canada for up to three years. 

Canada offers the PGWP as part of its efforts to attract international students and retain them as immigrants. 

The PGWP is an open work permit, which allows international graduates to work for any Canadian employer without needing a job offer. 

International students can only receive one Post-Graduation Work Permit.

What are the risks of doing my internship in Canada with no internship work permit?

Canada is strict on their immigration laws.

So, if you come to Canada with no internship work permit, you can be sent back home upon arrival.

In addition, you risk being made inadmissible to Canada in the future. 

Whether you work in a paid or unpaid position, Canada’s regulations do not allow you to work without proper work permit. 

You must follow the rules set by the Government of Canada when organizing your internship in Canada. 

Coming to Canada as a visitor and telling the officer that you will do an internship, or worse, hiding this information from them can get you into serious trouble. 

So, for this reason, be smart, and do not take the risk.

What are the requirements to complete an internship in Canada?

As previously mentioned, in order to come to Canada for your internship you must be from an eligible country. 

Each country has its own process and requirements for getting the internship visa. 

On a general note, the requirements for completing an internship in Canada are:

  • You must be between 18 and 35 years old.
  • Must hold a valid passport from one of the International Experience Canada countries. 
  • You must also register as a student during your internship period in Canada.
  • At least have an intermediate level of English. This is necessary so you can complete your internship interview and communicate with coworkers. 

How long in advance should I start the process to get an internship in Canada?

We recommend you to begin to prepare for your internship in Canada at least four months before you would like to arrive. 

This is because the visa application process can take up to eight weeks. 

And you can only start your visa process once you have an internship offer!

As a result, the earlier you start preparing, the better for you.

What is the best time to apply for an internship in Canada?

It is important to note that there is a limit to the number of internship visas available to each country. 

As a result, there is a risk that if you wait too long into the year, there will be no permits left.

At the end of each year, the International Experience Canada program opens for the following year. 

It makes the permits available throughout the spring and closes again by the end of the summer. 

Therefore, we recommend starting your application process between January and June.

Do I have to give biometrics to come to Canada on an internship?

Yes, biometrics is a mandatory step for everyone coming to complete an internship in Canada.

You will need to schedule an appointment at a visa application center (VAC)

If you don’t know how to go about this, you may seek advice from someone who has done this process before.


Canada is one of the most sought after cities for work and internship opportunities.

Getting an internship in Canada gives you the opportunity to gain work experience as well as explore their culture and beautiful cities.

Share this article with everyone you know to help them apply for internships in Canada.


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