Canada lifts off-campus work restrictions for some students

Dear Mr Brown,

You helped me with my college and study permit applications to attend Centennial College — thanks again. I currently work at a restaurant, and it is my understanding that I can now work more than 20 hours a week during class time, during the COVID-19 pandemic. I wanted to verify this with you. — SS

Dear SS: You are welcome, and thank you for your query.

In order to assist in handling the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government of Canada has temporarily removed restrictions on off-campus work for certain international students. It took effect on April 22, 2020 and will last until August 31, 2020.

International students who are already present in Canada will assist with meeting the challenges of the pandemic.

The Government removed the restriction allowing international students to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, if they are providing an essential service or function, such as working in health care or critical infrastructure, or supplying food or other critical goods.

The student must be a holder of a valid study permit in an academic session, and eligible to work off campus.


I am not sure of your position in the restaurant, but the following list includes occupations in the supply of food:

• Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies, and other outlets, such as convenience and pet food stores, that sell food and beverage products

• Restaurant employees necessary to support takeout and food delivery operations

• Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees

• Workers, including those employed in animal food, feed, by-product, and ingredient production, processing, packaging, and distribution; manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of veterinary drugs; truck delivery and transport; farm and fishery labour needed to harvest and produce food supply domestically

• Agriculture and aquaculture workers and support service workers, including those necessary for the growing, harvesting, and processing of field crops (for example, wheat, soy bean, corn, hay, etcetera); those responsible for fuel ethanol facilities, biodiesel facilities, renewable heating oil facilities, storage facilities, and other agricultural inputs

• Workers undertaking traditional harvesting activities, including fishing, hunting, and agricultural activities

• Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers

• Workers supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail

• Company in-house cafeterias used to feed employees

• Workers in food testing labs and those working in food safety (such as third-party food safety auditors).

• Employees of companies engaged in the production of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers, minerals, enrichments, and other agricultural production aids

• Animal agriculture workers, to include those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed, animal nutrition consultation, and bedding, etcetera; transportation of live animals, animal medical materials; transportation of deceased animals for disposal; raising of animals for food; animal production operations; slaughter and packing plants and associated regulatory and government workforce, including provincial, territorial and federal inspectors

• Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural, aquaculture, and fishery production and distribution.

Please visit jamaica2canada. com for additional information on Canadian permanent residence programmes, including Express Entry, The Study & Work programme, visas or appeals, etc. Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to jamaica2canada@gmail.com

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