Prepare for arrival – International Experience Canada

When you arrive in Canada, you will be greeted by a border services officer. Tell them that you have come here to work.

Be prepared to show the following documents:

  • your passport
  • your Port of Entry (POE) Letter
  • proof of funds
  • proof of health insurance
  • a ticket for your departure from Canada or sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket and
  • copies of the documents you provided in your work permit application

Note: If you are an unpaid International Co-op (Internship) participant, you may need to show proof of additional financial resources to cover expenses for your entire stay.

You will receive a work permit if the border services officer is satisfied that you are admissible to Canada.

If the officer is not satisfied, you may be asked to return to your country on the next flight at your own expense.

Health insurance

The border services officer may ask you for proof of health insurance.

You may be refused entry if you do not have insurance.

Your insurance must cover:

  • medical care
  • hospitalization and
  • repatriation (returning you to your country in the event of severe illness, injury or death)

When you arrive at the port of entry, you must have health insurance valid for your entire stay in Canada. Having a valid provincial health card is not enough. Repatriation is not covered by provincial health insurance.

If your insurance policy is valid for less than your expected stay, you will be issued a work permit that expires at the same time as your insurance.

If this happens, you will not be able to apply to change the conditions of your work permit at a later date.


The border services officer may also ask for proof of funds.

You must present a statement of your bank account issued no more than 1 week before your departure for Canada. It must clearly show that you have enough money to support yourself for the first 3 months of your stay in Canada (the equivalent of CAN$2,500).

If you arrive in Canada with the equivalent of CAN$10,000 or more, you must tell the border services officer. If you do not, you could be fined or put in prison. These funds could be in the form of:

  • cash
  • securities in bearer form (for example, stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills) or
  • bankers’ drafts, cheques, travellers’ cheques or money orders

Review your work permit

Check your work permit carefully before leaving the border services office. Make sure you understand all the information on the permit.

If you think there is a mistake on your work permit, please tell the border services officer right away.

Things you should look for:

Make sure your name is spelled correctly.

Check the expiry date shown under the “Valid until” box.

If you’ve applied under the Young Professional or International Co-op (Internship) category, the validity period of your work permit will normally match the period your employer requested in your job offer.

Your work permit will not be valid beyond:

  • the amount of time indicated in the agreement between Canada and your country
  • the expiry date of your passport
  • the expiry date of your health insurance or
  • the end date of your work contract (Young Professionals and International Co-op (Internship) participants)

Medical restrictions – if you have passed an immigration medical exam, you should not have medical restrictions on your work permit.

Working Holiday participants

Your work permit should show:

  • “open” employer and
  • “open” location

Open employer and employment location means you have an open work permit.

As long as your work permit is valid, there are no restrictions on:

  • how long you can work or
  • how many hours you can work

Young Professionals or International Co-op (Internship) participants

Your work permit should indicate the name of your employer.

You can work only for the employer specified in your work permit. The employer’s name is based on the offer of employment submitted.

Leaving and returning to Canada

If you leave Canada while your work permit is still valid and return to continue working, the border services officer will re-assess your admissibility each time you enter Canada.

If you are still admissible, the border services officer will allow you to re-enter Canada with your original work permit.

The work permit states “This does not authorize re-entry.” This means the permit allows you to work in Canada after you have been legally admitted.

The work permit is not:

  • a visa or passport that will allow you entry to Canada or
  • a guarantee of your re-entry to Canada

Getting a social insurance number

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that you will need to work in Canada and to access government programs and benefits. You should apply for a SIN as soon as possible after you arrive in Canada.

To apply for your SIN, contact the nearest Service Canada office.

Employment and labour standards

Each province and territory has standards to protect employers and employees.

Labour standards include rules about:

  • minimum wage
  • overtime
  • holidays
  • vacations
  • hours of work
  • rest periods and
  • days of rest

If you have any questions about labour standards or if you think your employer is not meeting them, contact the ministry in charge of labour or employment standards in the province or territory where you work.

To find out more about employment standards and your rights, see Understand your rights – temporary workers.

Labour standards organizations

Find out how to contact the office responsible for labour or employment standards in the province or territory where you work:

You can also contact Labour Canada, the federal department that regulates employment and enforces standards such as hours of work, holidays, leave, pay, and more.

Staying in Canada

You may be able to stay in Canada as a tourist after your work permit expires. Complete the Come to Canada tool to find out if you are eligible to extend your stay.

You must do this while your work permit is still valid.


Page details

Date modified: