VIU International students

Co-op Work Permit

DISCLAIMER: IRCC announced on October 7, 2022 that eligible international students are exempted from the 20 hour/week limit to the number of hours they may work off-campus between Nov 15, 2022, and December 31, 2023. This means that during that period no Coop Work Permit will be required. "As such, IRCC will not require that they apply for a co-op work permit. If the co-op placement falls outside the timeframe for the public policy, however, then students would need to apply for a co-op work permit to cover the period before or after the public policy."

Are you current student at VIU and applying for the Co-op work permit? if Yes, please follow the steps below

How to apply for Co-op Work Permit?

  • Apply Online
  • Review Co-op Work Permit Tutorial for assistance. 

coop work permit

Documents Required:

  • Scan all marked pages of your passport (biometric page, Canadian visa, study permit). Note: scan in PDF as one file;
  • VIU Letter of Coop work confirmation. Either request in person from Building 255 front desk; or by email;
  • Passport style photo in digital format (JPG). You can have digital photo in nearby Shoppers Drug Marts or in London Drugs

Log into GCKey

VIU International Students in Co-op/Internship Programs

Some programs at VIU have a work experience component that is “an integral part of the program of study” e.g. MBA, ADGISA, ECEC, Hospitality Management, Tourism Management, Recreation and Sport Management, and Culinary Arts. In order to complete this work experience (practicum, internship, fieldwork) students must hold a valid Co-op/Internship Work Permit. It is your responsibility to obtain this permit before you start your practicum/ internship work.

Co-op Work Permit

International students must apply for the Co-op/Internship Work Permit from Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC). Often students will apply for the work permit at the same time as their initial Study Permit. For more details on how to apply for a Study Permit as well as a Co-op work permit, please visit IRCC website. If you are applying after your arrival in Canada, be sure to apply well in advance (at least 4 months) of the work placement start date.  In case you don't receive Co-op Work Permit in time for start of placement, contact an Immigration Advisor to discuss options.  

A student’s Co-op Work Permit is valid only for the co-op education, internship, or practicum component indicated in their program outline. A Co-op Work Permit is not valid for engaging in off-campus employment. Non-Compliance i.e. violation of study permit conditions or engaging in unauthorized work may have negative repercussions on future immigration applications. 

International Students are strongly advised to review above tutorial and forward any questions or inquiries to an Immigration Advisor four months before they start their work placement. Not having a Co-op Work Permit on time may result in de-registration from the co-op education, internship, or practicum placement which may then affect a student’s academic and employment status.

All International students are highly encouraged to:

  • Attend “Smooth Sailing Orientation” for international students;
  • Ensure that they have a valid Study Permit and Co-op/Internship Work Permit.
  • Ensure to email a copy of study permit to International Admissions office via or submit in person to front desk in Bldg. 255;
  • Apply for a work permit at least four months prior to their Co-op, Internship, and Practicum start date;
  • Contact their Co-op, Internship, or Practicum Coordinator in their Program for more details;
  • Contact Centre for Experiential Learning for more information about co-op education, internships, and employment opportunities. 

Please note, some Co-op placements may require an immigration medical exam only Panel Physicians approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada 


If your practicum course starts in your first semester at VIU, you must request that your Co-op Work Permit be issued upon arrival at the Port of Entry (Airport, land, marine border) by the Immigration Officer. You may need to explain that your practicum, co-op or internship starts in the first semester and show VIU's Letter of Acceptance to confirm it.

International students enrolled in the ECEC Program at VIU must bring the copy of their Medical Exam from their home country which was sent to the Canadian Embassy/Consulate or High Commissioner for issuance of their study permit and visa. It is very important to have this if students Co-op work permit have not been issued upon entry to Canada. Not having the copy of the Medical Exam may delay the student’s application for a Co-op Work Permit and consequently may result in de-registration from practicum placement.

Co-op Fees

IRCC Co-op Work Permit application is free and can be applied through initial study permit application by ticking a few boxes on Details of Work section of application. 


IRCC Co-op application processing fee is not the same as coop tuition fees you are charged at VIU. International Student Co-op Work Permits indicate Vancouver Island University as an Employer. However, students are responsible for finding their own internships/practicum placements.