VIU International students

Co-op Work Permit

If you are a current student at VIU and applying for the Co-op work permit follow the steps below

How to apply for Co-op Work Permit?

coop work permit



  • Online (application processing time is shorter and it is a one step process)
  • Paper (application processing time is longer and application fee must be paid online)

Documents Required:

  • Passport (photo, Canadian visa, study permit) pages scanned in PDF as one file
  • VIU Letter of Coop work confirmation (request it from Building 255 front desk)
  • Passport style photo in digital format (JPG)

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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, ECEC, Hospitality 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 your start 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 experience start date.  You may not start work until your work permit has been issued. It is recommended to apply for this co-op work permit at the same time as the study permit if possible.

A student’s Co-op Work Permit is valid only for the co-op education, internship or practicum course indicated in their program outline. A Co-op Work Permit is not valid for taking off-campus employment. Violation of the Co-op Work Permit rules, by engaging in off-campus employment, may result in the student being removed from VIU and Canada.

International Students are strongly advised to meet with an Immigration Advisor in Building 255 four months before they start their work term. Not having a Co-op Work Permit in time may result in deregistration from the co-op education, internship or practicum course which may then affect a student’s academic and employment status.

All International students from the above-mentioned programs are required to:

  • Attend “Smooth Sailing Orientation” for international students upon arrival to VIU;
  • Ensure they have a valid Study Permit and Co-op/Internship Work Permit and provide copies to Bldg. 255 front desk;
  • Meet the International Student Immigration Advisor if they need to 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 the VIU Career Centre for more information about co-op education, internships and employment opportunities on or off campus.

Please note that International students who are enrolled in less than nine (9) credits may not be eligible for a co-op or internship Work Permit from IRCC.


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 your VIU 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 deregistration from the practicum course,

Co-op Fees

Co-op education, practicums (course) and internships at VIU are a necessary part of studies and international students must be enrolled full-time in respective Programs such as MBA, ECEC, Hospitality Management, and Culinary Arts, in order to be eligible for a Co-op Work Permit. Co-op education, practicums, and internships are paid/unpaid work experience that alternates with academic terms. International students enrolled in Masters Programs pay co-op fees within their tuition fees. Undergraduate students pay Co-op fees in the amount of $1,951.28. Practicum fees for the ECEC Program are included in the tuition fees.

Students will be granted a credit for their co-op education, internships, and practicums.


Co-op fees are not job placement fees and VIU cannot guarantee students internship work. International Student Co-op Work Permits indicate Vancouver Island University as an Employer. This indicates that VIU plays the role of the Employment Agency. However, students are responsible for finding their own internship.