How to support international students studying in Canada

International students bring so much both to Canada as a whole and the institutions they choose for their studies. International students contribute more than $21 billion annually to Canada’s economy and bring diversity and vitality to Canadian campuses and communities.

Both post-secondary institutions and the Canadian government have several provisions in place to support international students who choose to pursue their academic and career goals in Canada.

Post-Graduation Work Permit

The Government of Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program gives international students an opportunity to apply to stay in the country and start working after they graduate from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

A PGWP may be valid anywhere between eight months and up to three years. The length of an international student’s permit will depend on the length of the study program completed in Canada.

In order to qualify to apply for a PGWP, international students must have completed an academic, vocational or professional training program that is at least eight months in duration at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). Global University Systems (GUS) Canada institutions – University Canada West (UCW), Toronto School of Management (TSoM), Trebas Institute, Canadian College of Technology and Business, and Niagara College – Toronto – are all on Canada’s DLI list.

And many students find success. A recent survey of UCW alumni showed that 96.9% of MBA students are working or have a job lined up within one year of graduating.


The Government of Canada made some temporary changes to its policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to support international students during these uncertain times.

In December, the government extended the time international students can study online from outside Canada and have it count towards their PGWP eligibility.

International students can complete 100% of their studies online until August 31, 2022, and still have it count towards a PGWP.

Student Support Services

Moving to another country to study and pursue a career can be daunting but GUS Canada institutions have several services in place to help international students make the transition to studying and living in Canada easier.

At UCW, International Student Advisors (ISAs) are available to assist students before they arrive in Canada and throughout their time at UCW. 

ISAs can offer help in several areas, including arrival and transitioning to life in Canada, resources available both on and off-campus, understanding UCW policies and procedures, referrals to academic support programs, acting as a liaison with faculty and answering general questions about study permits, Post-Graduation Work Permits, a Social Insurance Number and work eligibility.

Dedicated career services teams at GUS Canada institutions are there to make it easier for students as they transition from the classroom to their chosen field. Students can explore multiple career assistance programs like one-on-one resumé assistance, career development workshops, job fairs, networking events and trade shows. They can offer students expert guidance and advice on how to achieve their dreams.

To help further, students at GUS Canada institutions have access to the keep.meSAFE, a digital mental health support program. The program is available to both domestic and international students, but keep.meSAFE is the industry’s first and only digital mental health support service that specializes in helping international students having trouble settling into their new surroundings.

The keep.meSAFE program is available 24/7, all year round and is available on multiple platforms. It is useful for a student who is struggling and has a busy schedule. Students can reach out to an advisor or counsellor through a range of platforms, including through the app, messenger, the webchat on their website, or via voice and video call.

Students also have access to different articles and videos covering a range of topics, including personal health, relationships, living abroad and student life, on the keep.meSAFE website.

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