International youth contribute valuable and diverse skills to Canada’s economy when they come from abroad to gain meaningful work and life experiences here. Similarly, Canadian youth benefit from working and travelling abroad and coming home with an international perspective.
Today, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that the International Experience Canada (IEC) season is now open to international youth who have expressed interest in gaining work and travel experience in Canada. Those who are already in the IEC pool will begin receiving invitations to apply for their work permit.
This year, Canada will be extending this opportunity to nearly 90,000 international youth, as announced on December 1, 2022. This expansion will help Canadian employers find the workers they need to fill labour shortages across the country.
Canada has a long-standing history of supporting Canadian and international youth to travel and work abroad. IEC helps youth explore new cultures, languages and societies, all while developing life skills and improving their job prospects for the future.
“Our government supports international youth to work and travel in Canada, effectively helping employers find the workers they need. By giving youth the opportunity to gain international travel and work experience, we are strengthening our economy and creating a win-win solution for everyone involved.”
– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
“IEC is now open for nearly 90,000 international youth looking to gain valuable work and life experiences in Canada. This program brings a diverse range of skills and perspectives to our workforce, while also helping to address labour shortages in Canada’s tourism industry. At the same time, it provides Canadian youth with the opportunity to gain valuable work and life experiences abroad and to return home with an international perspective. IEC is a fantastic opportunity for both Canada’s tourism industry and the personal and professional development of young leaders at home and abroad.”
– The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism of Canada
“IEC is an excellent resource for youth from Canada and 36 countries around the world to gain unforgettable work and life experiences. IEC helps young people not only develop new skills and explore different cultures, but also return home with an international perspective. IEC is a unique and exciting program, and we encourage all eligible youth to take advantage of it.”
– The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Youth of Canada
“Labour shortages are affecting many sectors in the Canadian workforce. Our Government is ensuring employers can address these gaps by drawing from a diverse pool of youth abroad, who are ready to contribute to our workforce. Through the International Experience Canada Program, we’re helping businesses across the country by allowing more international youth to gain meaningful employment while exploring.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
- IEC is a reciprocal program that allows Canadian and international youth to work and travel in each other’s countries.
- On December 19, 2022, the IEC pools opened to allow international youth to create an online profile.
- While Canadian youth can apply for the program year-round, international candidates can only apply at certain times of the year, typically December until fall. Canada has youth mobility arrangements with 36 countries and foreign territories through the IEC program that allow youth from Canada’s partner countries to work and travel in Canada for up to 2 years. The age of participants ranges from 18 to 35, depending on their country.
- The program has 3 participation categories:
- Working Holiday participants receive an open work permit that allows them to work anywhere in the host country to support their travels.
- International Co-op (Internship) participants receive an employer-specific work permit that allows students to gain targeted experience in their field of study.
- Young Professionals participants receive an employer-specific work permit to gain targeted, professional work experience that is within their field of study or career path.