Work in Canada Program Eligibility, Jobs, Accommodation......


You must:

  • Be aged 18 – 30 (inclusive).
  • Be a US citizen (with a valid US passport).
  • Have a clear criminal record.
  • Have proof of support funds of at least CAS2,500 on entry to Canada.
  • Have proof of adequate medical insurance (including personal accident and repatriation of remains) on entry to Canada in excess of $25,000 as you will not be covered by the Canadian socialized medical system while working in Canada.  You can provide your own coverage or you can purchase the IENA insurance policy, details can be found via
  • Have been a full-time degree-level student within 12 months of beginning the program (includes graduates). Proof of student status must be either an official or unofficial transcript or a signed letter on official stationery from your school.
    If you are studying abroad (except in Canada) and still considered full-time by your university/college you are still eligible to participate in the program.

US students are permitted to repeat the program after completing another academic term of study in the US.

Please note:
You cannot bring dependents with you to Canada on this program. 
You cannot apply to the program while in Canada.
Online classes (completed outside of Canada) are recognized towards program eligibility
You cannot attend any educational institutions and take any courses other than English or French as a second language while on the program.


An Open Employment Authorization allows you to be legally employed in Canada for up to 12 months, anywhere, for any employer. However to work in agriculture, childcare, health services or teaching, you are required to undergo medical clearance BEFORE entering Canada (this can be an expensive and lengthy process).

The type of job you can secure will depend on your qualifications and previous work experience.  Most participants find casual employment in shops, bars, restaurants, ski resorts and hotels, but it is possible to find career related or professional work.  The majority of participants look for work once they have arrived in Canada and take on average 7 days to secure a job.  If you intend to find a career-type position, you should start your job hunt before you go and be prepared to spend more time researching possible vacancies.

Traditionally there are 3 main areas which provide work opportunities: Ontario (Toronto), Alberta (Canadian Rockies for resort work) and British Columbia (Vancouver).  If you are unsure about which area will suit you best, you should do as much research as you can.  Have a look at a map and get an idea of distances and check out guide books such as Lonely Planet.


Some jobs provide accommodation, but if yours doesn’t you’ll need somewhere temporary to stay until you sort out something more permanent.  Youth Hostels, student dorms or tourist homes are your best bet when you first arrive in a town to start your job or look for work.  If you would like us to pre-book accommodation for your arrival in Canada, please select this option when submitting your application. 

During the summer vacation, halls of residence are often available to rent on an individual basis and normally provide a good standard of budget accommodation.  Many Canadian students also go away for the summer months and are looking to sublet their apartments.  Alternatively, look in the classified section of the local newspaper for apartments to rent or share.  Accommodation agencies can be useful, but some charge a fee for their services.


You should budget carefully for the first few weeks of your stay.  Unless you have a friend to stay with, you will typically need to pay in advance for your accommodation (plus a security deposit).  Also bear in mind it may be two to four weeks before you get your first paycheck.  On average a room in a shared house costs approximately CA$400-700 per month and general living costs run about CA$100 extra per week.  This is one of the reasons why it is a program requirement that you have adequate personal support funds available on entry to Canada.


Whether you work as you travel, or work and then travel, you will probably want to see as much of Canada as possible.  The wide ranging diversity in culture and geography make it a great destination for doing just about anything.  Explore one of Canada’s nine mountain ranges, two million lakes, or one of the thousand national parks for an outdoor adventure.  Cosmopolitan cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa or Montreal boast excellent galleries, museums, theaters and a vibrant nightlife!

Apply online for IENA US Outbound programs


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IENA Staff Travel Tips


Interesting facts

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“I greatly improved my French skills working in Montreal.  I was also lucky enough to see Paul McCartney play on the Plains of Abraham for free.  I also joined a band in Montreal for the summer and got to play a few gigs.  It was the greatest experience ever!” WC, Work in Canada
“The process for getting a visa was made so simple!  Very nice!” AC, Work in Canada