Programs From the US
Work in Canada
Overview

Work in Canada offers you the opportunity to combine work and travel in a different North American setting.

Spend up to 12 months living, working and traveling in Canada. Gain the international experience of working abroad without actually having to go overseas!

Americans who want to work or undertake an internship in Canada must apply for a work permit through a Recognized Organization in Canada. This is because there is no formal agreement between the USA and Canada. Our partner, SWAP Working Holidays, is the Canadian government Recognized Organization. The program is administered in America by IENA.

There are two work permit options, the Working Holiday Permit and the Young Professionals Permit. The Working Holiday permit is an Open Work permit allowing you to take any job in any Province. The Young Professionals permit is a suitable option for applicants with pre-arranged jobs or internships related to their professional development and is an employer-specific work permit (you can only work for one employer).

You choose the date you wish to enter Canada within your eligibility period and book your own travel accordingly. If you wish to take advantage of the free arrival orientation, you should make your way to the SWAP offices in either Toronto or Vancouver. However, you can be as independent as you choose and still have the knowledge that SWAP will be there throughout your stay to help you if needed.

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Work in Canada Program Offers

  • Free choice of arrival date into Canada.
  • Pre-departure support from IENA, with many years of experience in administering international student exchanges at your disposal.
  • Step by step instructions on how to apply for work permit approval as part of the International Experience Canada (IEC) initiative.
  • Discounted, comprehensive worldwide travel insurance with $500,000 in medical coverage and $50 deductible per injury and insurance.
  • After Hours Emergency Assistance: SWAP is there to help even after the office has closed.
  • Social activities including sports events, pub nights and excursions.
  • SWAP Hosting Centers in Toronto and Vancouver, job and accommodation listings, plus general advice from friendly, knowledgeable staff.
  • Arrival Orientation packed with important information to prepare you for your stay. Advice on bank accounts, tax, applying for a SIN (Social Insurance Number) as well as practical information on job and accommodation hunting!
  • Access to SWAP’s online job database that has listings of jobs available in British Columbia and Ontario.
  • Free internet, Wi-Fi, and computer facilities, plus use of telephones and mail service.

Solo traveler with a beanie in the snow and a small Canadian flag.

Work in Canada Eligibility

Working Holiday

  • Be aged 18 – 35 (inclusive).
  • Be a US citizen (with a valid US passport).
  • Have a clear criminal record.
  • Have proof of support funds equal to at least CA$2,500 on entry to Canada.
  • Have proof of adequate medical insurance (including personal accident and repatriation of remains) on entry to Canada in excess of CA$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 insurance through IENA (View policy details)
  • Have proof of Covid 19 Vaccination
  • Not bring dependents with you to Canada on this program.

Young Professionals

  • Be aged 18 – 35 (inclusive).
  • Be a US citizen (with a valid US passport).
  • Have a pre-arranged job or internship related to your studies or professional development.
  • Have a job/internship that meets National Occupational Classification (NOC) Code Skill Type Level 0, A or B
  • Be paid (you cannot be self-employed).
  • Work full-time (at least 35 hours per week).
  • Have a clear criminal record.
  • Have proof of support funds equal to at least CA$2,500 on entry to Canada.
  • Have proof of adequate medical insurance (including personal accident and repatriation of remains) on entry to Canada in excess of CA$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 insurance through IENA (View policy details)
  • Have proof of Covid 19 Vaccination
  • Not bring dependents with you to Canada on this program.

You can participate in the program twice if you meet eligibility requirements (limited number of work permits available for second-time applicants)

Job Opportunities

Working Holidays

The Open Work Permit 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 seek employment once they have arrived in Canada and it takes 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.

Young Professionals

Your job or internship must meet National Occupational Classification (NOC) Code Skill Type Level 0, A or B. You should discuss your job title and NOC job code with your employer.  Search for your job title and appropriate job code.


Accommodations

Hostels, Dorms, and Homes

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. 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.

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Niagara falls.
Travel Information

What to See in 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 makes it a great destination for doing just about anything.

Mountains

Why not explore one of Canada’s nine mountain ranges? The Canadian Rockies in Banff or Pigeon Spire located in Bugaboo Provincial Park in the Columbia Mountains or check out the Appalachian Mountains which were formed roughly 480 million years ago.

Lakes & Parks

Canada has over two million lakes – more than a thousand miles of white-sand beaches beckon visitors to Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, the 10th largest lake in the world. For boating and fishing visit the Lake Champlain region of the Adirondack Coast.

For an outdoor adventure, check out one of Canada’s many national parks.

Cities

Cosmopolitan cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Montreal boast excellent galleries, museums, theaters, and vibrant nightlife!

Interesting Facts

Interesting Facts About Canada

  • Canada has 6 time zones.
  • Canada is home to the longest street in the world. Yonge Street in Ontario starts at Lake Ontario and runs north through Ontario to the Minnesota border, almost 2,000 km.
  • Canada has the world’s longest coastline at 202,080 km.
  • A bear cub named Winnipeg was exported from Canada to the London Zoo in 1915. A little boy named Christopher Robin Milne loved to visit Winnipeg (Winnie for short). His love for the bear cub inspired the stories written by his father, A.A. Milne, about Winnie-the-Pooh.
  • Canada has twice been invaded by the USA, first in 1775 and again in 1812.
  • Canada holds the record for the most gold medals ever won at the Winter Olympics, taking 14 Golds at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
  • Sandy Gardiner, a journalist with the Ottawa Journal in the 60s, coined the term ‘Beatlemania’ while he was writing a story about the Beatles.
  • Canada was named through a misunderstanding. When Jacques Cartier, a French explorer came to the new world he met with local natives who invited him to their ‘Kanata’ (the word for ‘village’). The party mistakenly thought the name of the country was “Kanata” or Canada.
  • Canada is home to approximately 55,000 different species of insects.
  • Montreal is home to many beautiful churches and is often called The City of Saints or City of a Hundred Bell Towers.
  • Ontario is believed to be home to the world’s smallest jail, which measures only 24.3 sq. meters.
  • Canada’s only desert in British Columbia is only 15 miles long and is the only desert in the world with a long boardwalk for visitors to walk on.
  • Canada is the second largest country in the world right after Russia.
  • Canada’s lowest recorded temperature was -81.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-63C) in 1947.
  • Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world’s lakes combined.

Solo traveling in front of the "Toronto" sign during the day with other tourists.
Application and Fees

Stage 1 of the Application

Please set up an IENA account and complete the online IENA Outbound Program application being sure to also upload supporting documents to your IENA account.

Supporting Documents Checklist

  • Program reference or job offer (download reference form via your IENA account)
  • Copy of passport bio page (the page with your photo and passport number)
  • Insurance Declaration (download the declaration form via your IENA account)
  • Young Professionals applicants – SWAP Young Professionals application (download via your IENA account)

When all documents have been uploaded to your account and your application is complete we will assess your application and then invoice you for payment of our program fee. After payment is processed you will be instructed to move to stage two of the application process.

Stage 2 of the Application

Apply for a Canadian Work permit via Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC).

IENA will provide complete step-by-step instructions and guidance for all stages of the application process.

Please apply at least 8-10 weeks prior to your intended date of travel to Canada. You are strongly advised not to book flights or make any travel plans before your work permit application is approved by the Canadian government.

Places on the 2021 program will be allocated on a first come first served basis to applicants with completed IENA applications.


Program Fees

The Working Holiday program fee is $875 and covers administration in America and Canada, use of hosting centers in Toronto and Vancouver for job and accommodation listings and program support.

The Young Professionals program fee is $850 and covers administration in America and Canada, use of hosting centers in Toronto and Vancouver and program support.

Other Costs to Consider

  • Travel Insurance – You must show proof of adequate medical and accident insurance on entry to Canada. IENA can provide a policy with $500,000 in medical coverage and $50 deductible. Premiums start at $195.
  • Support Funds in the amount of CA$2,500.
  • Canadian Government fees Working Holiday permit CA$253/Young Professionals permit CA$153 (Both are subject to change by the Canadian government).
  • Young Professionals Employer Compliance fee CA$230 (paid by employer)

Application Deadline: Please apply at least 8-10 weeks prior to your planned date of travel to Canada. It is strongly advised not to purchase flights or make travel arrangements before receiving your entry document to Canada.

Cancellation Conditions

The IENA Work in Canada program fee are non-refundable.

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