Working for money while attending school

Independent Work While Attending School

A very large majority of students in Canada work a part-time job while attending school. By attending an accredited and/or a recognized school, you are permitted to work for money through your student visa at a predetermined amount of hours per week that is set by the government.

Since practicums are non-paid (as it is a part of your educational training); we encourage those students that are permitted to work, to apply for jobs in the customer service, retail and food sectors with a national or international chain such as A&W, McDonald’s, Tim Hortins, Sport Check, Winners, Walmart, The Bay, Best Buy and other well-respected chains; this will provide students an opportunity to gain some “pocket money” for expenses.

Take-away restaurants tend to accommodate hours for students; most importantly these national chains pay on time and will not cause hassles for their employees as they do not wish to have a negative perception in the community.

It is vital that you understand the rules and abide by the regulations for the number of hours that you are permitted to work per week. As an International Student you should not work more than you are permitted!

The Importance of Working Legally

Thousands of students graduate from schools across Canada, and can not find work due to not having any work experience. This is even more evident with International Students who lack work experience in Canada. We are aware of many international students from other academic institutions that have become so desperate for work experience and fallen victim of business people who act as predators.

There are many unethical businesses that “hire” students, knowing that they are desperate for work experience and do so on an undeclared cash-only basis. These predator businesses pay less than the provincially regulated minimum wage, demanding the students work hours beyond the allowed times that are permitted on the student work-permit and forcing students to do unpaid training for months. Most of the time these unethical businesses do not pay at all.

This is a very dangerous predicament for International Students, especially those that wish to apply for permanent residency (PR).

To apply for PR, students must obey the rules of Canadian law in all aspects.
Working for undeclared cash is illegal and reporting your earnings on a job site is a requirement by Canadian Tax and Employment Laws.

If you are working legally, then you will receive two important documents that will assist you in your pursuit for PR.

1.) The first is a T4 document that states the taxes that have been deducted;

2.) The second is an ROE (record of employment) which indicates the employers’ name and taxes paid.

These two documents will prove to the Government of Canada that the student has worked legally and is contributing to the Canadian Tax system thereby is a contributing member to Canadian society.

We are aware of many cases of international students from other post-secondary institutions that have worked beyond their allowed hours, or have worked for undeclared cash and have been deported, and will not be permitted to return to Canada.

This is why we have created the work practicum placement program allowing students to place their practicum experience within their resume/cv showing that they have supervised experience from an Alberta employer.

All students attending The Royal Alberta College and wish to work while attending college should visit this link provided by the Government of Canada:

To understand the rules and regulations for International Students.

Here are some useful URL’s that will provide you with insight on the topics expressed on this page.


The Royal Alberta College provides students with much-needed work experience where students can apply their classroom knowledge in a real work environment to add on their resume.