Who needs a Co-op Work Permit?
VCC Programs with Practicum Experience (Co-op Work Permit Required)
How to Apply for a Co-op (Practicum) Work Permit
International students in Canada (study permit holders) studying at a designated learning institution (DLI) in a program that requires work experience (practicum) need a co-op work permit. International students must obtain a co-op work permit before starting their paid or unpaid practicum experience.
If your program at VCC includes mandatory practicum experience as part of the curriculum, you may be eligible to apply for a co-op work permit (COWP). The practicum information will be available at your VCC LOO (Letter of Offer) or LOA (Letter of Acceptance).
The co-op work permit is issued for international students only to fulfill the requirements for the practicum experience – the mandatory work experience which is part of their program of studies in Canada. International students are not allowed to use their co-op work permit for any work outside their practicum experience.
If you have a co-op work permit from a different school, you will need to apply for a new co-op work permit using the VCC letter.
|Certificate||Esthetics and Spa Therapy|
|Certificate||Legal Administrative Assistant|
|Certificate||Medical Office Assistant|
|Dual Certificates||Baking and Pastry Arts|
|Diploma||Dental Technology Sciences|
|Diploma||Early Childhood Care and Education|
|Diploma||Fashion Design & Production|
|Diploma||Health Care Assistant|
|Diploma||Hospitality Management Diploma (Fall 2023 onward)|
|Diploma||Occupational/Physical Therapist Assistant (Rehab Assistant)|
|Diploma||VR/AR Design and Development|
|Bachelor's Degree||Bachelor of Applied Music|
|Post-Degree Diploma||Business Management|
|Post-Degree Diploma||Hospitality Management|
Hospitality Management Diploma
The Hospitality Management Diploma program prior to and including the Spring/Summer (May) 2023 intake includes a required 500-hour industry work experience, however, these hours are obtained through the off-campus work eligibility stated on the study permit. A co-op work permit is only required for this program if students start in the Fall 2023 intake or later.
International students can apply for a co-op work permit (COWP) with their initial study permit application or study permit extension application. However, if you already have a valid study permit and you don’t have a co-op work permit, you may be able to apply for one from inside Canada on its own (online). IRCC doesn’t charge a fee for a co-op work permit application; however, you may be required to do the biometrics or medical exams depending on your occupation. Learn more by visiting Work as a co-op student or intern.
Before submitting your COWP application, ensure your program has practicum work experience.
If you will apply for your study permit from outside Canada, it is strongly recommended that you also submit your co-op work permit application at the same time by using your VCC LOA (Letter of Acceptance). If your program requires practicum work experience, your VCC letter will have all the necessary information about this practicum component.
Once you apply for a study permit, the online system will ask you if “work is an essential component of your studies”. Once you indicate “yes” to this question, the system will understand that your program has a mandatory work component on it.
After answering all the questions from the online wizard, you will be provided with a personalized document checklist. The checklist will require you to upload your ‘Letter of Acceptance’ and ‘Evidence of Work Requirement in Study’. Please upload your VCC LOO (Letter of Offer) or LOA (Letter of Acceptance) on both sections.
Once your application is approved, your port of entry (POE) letter of introduction will contain the information about your study permit and co-op work permit. Once you present the POE letter to the Canadian Border Service officer, they may issue your study permit and co-op work permit documents at the same time. Before leaving, carefully review the documents to verify if all information is correct. Please visit Co-op and internship programs to understand the information that your co-op work permit must have.
If your study permit will expire soon, it is recommended that you submit your co-op work permit application along with your study permit extension application. Please request a VCC study permit extension letter for this application.
Once you apply to extend your study permit, the system will ask you if “you also want to apply for a work permit.” Once you indicate “Yes, I wish to apply for a CoOp Work Permit” for this question, the system will understand that your program has a mandatory work component on it.
After answering all the questions from the online wizard, you will be provided with a personalized document checklist. The checklist will require you to upload your ‘Letter of Acceptance’ and a ‘Co-op Letter’. Please upload the letters accordingly.
Once your application is approved, you will receive a pdf letter in your IRCC secure account to indicate that the original documents will be mailed to your provided address. Make sure your address is correct once submitting your application.
If you already have a valid study permit, you can apply for a co-op work permit on its own.
Once you apply for a Co-op Work Permit, the online system will ask you if “your work is an essential part of your studies.” Once you indicate “Yes” to this question, the system will understand that your program has a mandatory work component on it, and you want to apply for a co-op work permit on its own.
After answering all the questions from the online wizard, you will be provided with a personalized document checklist. The checklist will require you to upload your ‘Co-op Letter’. Please upload your VCC Co-op Letter that you received within the first two weeks of the start of your program.
Once your application is approved, you will receive a pdf letter in your IRCC secure account to indicate that the original document will be mailed to your provided address. Make sure your address is correct once submitting your application.
Please review the following documents for instructions on how to submit a co-op work permit application on its own (online):
Review your co-op work permit to ensure all your information is correct. Your co-op work permit will normally have “Vancouver Community College” listed as “Employer”. Please visit Co-op and internship programs to learn more.
Submit a copy of your co-op work permit to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apply for your Social Insurance Number (SIN) (if applicable).
Visit the VCC Career Guidance page to help you prepare your Resume and Cover Letter.
The information on this page has been developed and endorsed by Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIAs) in compliance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations. However, the information may change without notice, and this is not a legal document. Please visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website for the most up-to-date information.