Thinking about doing an internship in Canada? You can travel internationally to gain new skills and work experience in a variety of industries like architecture, engineering, hospitality, IT, and marketing.
Canada is officially a bilingual nation, with French and English as its two languages. Other languages scattered throughout Canada include Cantonese, Italian, German, Punjabi, and Spanish. This variety in languages serves to prove that Canada truly is a cultural mosaic.
Canada is a vast country filled with opportunities for interns looking to spruce up their resume and compete in a global job market.
Most interns will choose to do an internship abroad in Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal in the following fields in Canada:
Architecture and Engineering
In Canada, lumber and stone are fairly cheap, providing plenty of building materials for major companies. However, since the geography of Canada is so diverse, there are many different climates and cultures to take into account when building - whether that is towers or bridges. Engineering interns can expect to work in drafting, construction management, structural engineering, or CAD during their placement in Canada.
Hospitality and Tourism
As a huge tourist destination, Canada is a great place for tourism interns. Interns could choose from opportunities in hotels, ski resorts, restaurants, and many more industries. Expect to work with tourists from all over the world, get your feet wet with some training, and also have time for social events. Tourism internships at resorts and hotels in Canada will generally last for about six months or longer. It will be well worth it when you experience all the fun and excitement of interning in the hospitality and service sector.
The technology sector is becoming more and more important around the globe. In Canada, tech interns can expect to find many opportunities. There are internships available for database administrators as well as, ASP.Net, Java, software, and web application developers. You could find a job at small, medium, or large IT firms (like Electronic Arts), or within tech departments of large hotels or manufacturers.
Business & Marketing
With a population of over 37 million people from all over the world, Canada is a great place to get a feel for a diverse marketing platform. Interns, through companies like IENA, can expect to work in marketing research, sales, or advertising. Expect to learn a lot about different ways to market products and services, taking into account social media and the fact that Canada has so many languages!
Where to Go
When and Where to Look for an Internship in Canada
Canada is an enormous nation and as an intern there you'll get a very different experience depending on which city and province you choose for your internship. Many Canadian internships are located in Toronto in Ontario, Vancouver in British Columbia or Montreal in Quebec.
Toronto, which was voted one of the best places to live in the world, is an industrial city with internship opportunities in just about every industry. Some of the top fields to find placements include business, media, technology, and theatre or performing arts.
Montreal is ideal for French-speakers who want to challenge themselves by conducting an internship in a foreign language without going to Europe or Africa. The French will be slightly different than other French-speaking areas in the world. Interns can find positions in film, engineering, and technology industries.
Rainy, mountainous, and beautiful Vancouver is very similar to the cities in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S (Seattle and Portland) both in lifestyle and industry. You can gain work experience as an intern in tourism and hospitality, entertainment, and software & technology fields.
Ottawa, the capital, will also have a wide variety of internships for students.
Interns in Canada will be able to find positions throughout the year. There are plenty of placement programs that will help find a suitable internship for their participants. However, summer is a very popular time to travel abroad do an internship between semesters.
Planning Your Trip
Cost of Living in Canada
Living costs in Canada will vary depending on where you decide to live. On average, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center will cost about CAD $1,300 per month and a one bedroom apartment in the suburbs will be about CAD $1,070. Because Canada is such a large country, costs can vary across the nation in provinces and cities.
In business, Canadians can often start out as reserved, but will generally become more open and friendly as relationships grow. As a general rule, manners are respected and polite behavior should be used as often as possible. Handshakes are very commonly used; be sure to make eye contact while shaking someone else’s hand. Communication is moderately indirect, but this can also vary by province. Experience and hard work are appreciated in Canadian business, so keep this in mind during your internship.
English is most commonly used in business, however, if you are working in Québec you will probably need to have an understanding of French. You may or may not be required to take language classes if you are using a placement program.
Networking in Canada is useful for further employment or just building relationships in general. If you're considering an international career or living in Canada after college, this is one of the main reasons why you would want to get an internship in Canada. Networking among coworkers is popular, and there is also BNI Canada for even more opportunities to network. Plus, you never know who may provide a great recommendation letter, connect you with potential employers, or open one door or another after you complete your internship.
Work and Labor Laws in Canada
There are paid and unpaid internships in Canada and the law is very vague on the difference between “work” and “internships.” Internship laws are based on the province you will be working in. For more information refer to the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.
Internship Programs in Canada
Where can I find an internship in Canada?
Different provinces and cities excel in different fields and internships can be found across the country. You can find internships in almost every field from business and media to engineering and hospitality. A great place to start looking for opportunities is in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.
Do I need a work permit to do an internship in Canada?
Yes, any type of placement or traineeship (even if unpaid), requires a student and/or visitor to obtain a work permit. One way you can do this is by applying for a co-op work permit.
Is it expensive to live in Canada?
Due to the size of Canada, the cost of living varies by city and province. To provide an idea of living costs, it's about CAD $1,300 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center.
Do interns get paid in Canada?
It's possible to get a paid internship in Canada, although, many internships are without monetary benefits. Since interns are not always considered employees, companies do not always have to pay. It's important to research the province you will be working in, as internships laws and regulations vary from one to another.