International Student Co-op

Hailin (Holly) Wu

As an international student, I was unsure of my future in Canada. Now, I am confident and enthusiastic about my life here thanks to the co-op program. The co-op program has reinvented me by broadening my horizons, enriching my perspective, developing my professional skills, establishing a social network, and enlighted a wonderful path towards my career goal. I have gained invaluable experience which can hardly be learned from courses.

Hailin (Holly) Wu BMgt '17
Co-op Alumna: Surge Energy Inc and Enerplus Resources

International students are encouraged to join the Co-op program and should speak directly with a Coordinator to discuss the international student sequencing requirements for co-op work terms.

Co-op Work Permit

Co-op work permits from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are required for all international students who wish to participate in the Co-op program at the University of Lethbridge. The co-op work permit must be received prior to commencing work in a co-op position. You will be able to access job postings only once you have a valid co-op work permit.

Only registered students at the University of Lethbridge who have been accepted by the Co-op program will receive the required official letter of confirmation to accompany their application for a co-op work permit.

As application processing times can be lengthy, you should apply to the Co-op Program well before you intend to begin your first co-op term. If you have other questions about your eligibility to work, please see the International Student Advisor at the International Centre (SU040).

Applying for or renewing a Co-op Work Permit

Note: There is no fee to apply for or renew a co-op work permit from IRCC.

  1. You will need a confirmation letter from the co-op office that states that you are a registered U of L student who is part of the Co-op program, and that the employment sought is an essential part of your program of study in Canada. You will need this letter to accompany your application to IRCC. The support letter is received by reviewing and signing an International Student Agreement during the Intake process with your co-op coordinator.
  2. Please visit the International Centre website for procedures on how to apply online for your co-op work permit. 
  3. Once you have successfully applied online, you will receive a confirmation email from IRCC. Please forward this email to our office so that we can update your file accordingly.
  4. Expect to receive a second email from IRCC once your co-op work permit has been approved. Please also forward this second email to our office.
  5. Once you have received your co-op work permit in the mail, you must provide the co-op office with a copy.
Co-op Work Permit Application Help

Please visit the International Centre and speak to a Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA). Only authorized representatives such as RISIAs are permitted to provide advice regarding immigration applications such a study permits and Co-op Work Permits.

Co-op Work Permit Processing Times

Processing times depend on how busy the Case Processing Centre is at the time you apply. For updated processing times please check the IRCC website.

Obtaining a Social Insurance Number

A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a unique nine-digit number that you need to work and get paid in Canada.

As long as one of the following conditions appears on your study permit, you can apply for a SIN:

  • May work 20 hrs per week off-campus or full-time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in section 186(v) of IRPR
  • May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria

Go online to the Government of Canada to apply for your SIN. You will receive a letter with your SIN by mail within 20 business days from the date the application is received.