Plan Your Gap Year in Canada

April 19, 2021


  • Robynn Farrell

So you’ve graduated. Congratulations! There’s nothing quite like the feeling of receiving that diploma after studying relentlessly for finals. So what’s next? Many high school and post-secondary graduates find it difficult to decide what it is they want to study at university or college or even know what direction to head towards in their professional career. One of the most popular choices is to plan a gap year in Canada and one of the best ways to do this is to apply through the International Experience Canada or Working Holiday Visa (WHV) Program. But the competition is fierce and once the 2021 Canada working holiday season opens, it will be a mad dash to the finish line to grab one of these coveted spots. Below are some of the top tips to be gap-year-ready for your Working Holiday Visa application.

Top Tips to Plan Your Gap Year in Canada

woman typing on laptop with backpack camera and hat on bench | plan your gap year in Canada

1. Make Sure You Qualify

The IEC or Working Holiday Visa Program allows people to travel and work in Canada, which is an amazing way to fund your holiday in Canada as well as network or meet a potential Canadian employer. In order to qualify you will have to meet the following criteria:
  • Between the ages of 18 - 35 years old (for some countries age limit is 18 to 29 or 30 years old); and
  • You must be from a participating country(36 excluding Canada)

2. Find Your Ideal Holiday Job in Canada

Finding the ideal working holiday job in Canada may seem overwhelming. The easiest way to decide on a program is to base it on which immigration stream you will be applying through. There are three categories to choose from:

Working Holiday Visa

Work Permit Type: Open Work Permit This category is perfect for you if you want to fund your holiday by working temporarily in Canada for different employers in different locations. This will allow you to work and travel in Canada and see as much of our beautiful countries as possible. Below are some examples of great working holiday jobs in Canada:
  • Ski instructor;
  • Seasonal farmworker;
  • Barista;
  • Bartender;
  • Waiter/waitress;
  • Cook or kitchen helper;
  • Backpackers front of house - many backpackers will allow give you room and board in exchange for help around the backpackers;
  • Tour guide;
  • Summer camp coordinator.

Young Professionals

Work Permit Type: Employer-Specific Work Permit This category is ideal if you are looking for professional work experience while working for one employer in one location in Canada. Under this category your job in Canada must pay you ie. you cannot work for room and board for example, and you cannot be self-employed. You will also only be able to apply for a highly skilled job in Canada. Below are some examples of qualifying highly skilled jobs in Canada:
  • Early childhood educator;
  • Art gallery manager;
  • Administrator;
  • Executive assistant;
  • IT professionals;
  • Graphic designer;
  • Restaurant manager;
  • Chef;
  • Engineer;
  • Electrician.

International Co-op (Internship)

Work Permit Type: Employer-Specific Work Permit This category is the right choice for you if you are studying at a university or college and want to do your work placement or internship in Canada. This also needs to be a prerequisite to complete your course. As with the Young Professionals category you will have to work for the same employer in the same location. This category is open to any type of job in Canada as long as it's related to your study program:

  young woman on road trip looking at map | plan your gap year in Canada

3. Choose Your Destination in Canada

Once you know what type of work you're looking for in Canada you can pick your destination which will help narrow down your search for jobs online. For example, if you’re looking for a job at a ski resort you may want to go to places like Whistler, which is about a 2-hour drive from Vancouver International airport or Lake Louise or Banff which is about a 1.5 to 2-hour drive from Calgary International Airport. It’s also important to know when to arrive, for example, peak skiing conditions are between December and February, which means more skiers and ultimately means that these resorts will have more jobs available.

4. Perfect Your Resume

When applying for a job in Canada, whether it's part-time or full-time you will need a professional resume highlighting your skills and any previous work experience that might help you stand out from the crowd and help you land that job in Canada. It is also important to make sure that your resume is up to Canadian or international standards. Make sure to keep it short (1 -2 pages is plenty), only include relevant work experience or in other words customize your resume for the job you are applying for. It should also be formatted and organized and includes keywords that are highlighter by employers in job listings. It’s also quite nice to include social media references such as LinkedIn profiles or links to online portfolios. And most importantly proofread your resume before submitting it. There’s nothing worse than a resume with spelling mistakes and typos.

6. Apply Through an Organization

When applying for a Canada Working Holiday Visa, it may stand in your favour if you enlist the help of a recognized organization of the IEC program such as Go International or International Association for Students of Economics and Commerce (AIESEC) to help you plan your gap year in Canada. It is not necessary but will make the application process a lot smoother. Universities such as University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of New Brunswick also have internship and volunteering programs that qualify for IEC. Another option, if you already have a job offer in Canada, is to use a professional visa and immigration consultant, like MDC, to help you navigate your way through the application process. Why stress about deadlines and application forms when you could be doing something more fun, like planning your trip to Canada and buying a decent pair of snow boots for your working holiday in Canada.

Let Us Help You Take the First Step on Your Canadian Adventure

young traveller wearing backpack | work and travel in Canada Planning your gap year in Canada, let alone applying for a working holiday visa, can be both stressful and confusing, but by using our professional services, it doesn’t have to be. Our accredited Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) will not only optimize your chances of success but you give you expert advice on which program is best for you. Our RCICs are registered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) and are legally permitted to assist you by evaluating your eligibility, reviewing all documentation, and submitting it to the Canadian government on your behalf.

Don't risk your chances of embarking on the trip of a lifetime. Let us make sure that all forms are completed correctly and sent in on time. Simply fill out our application form to receive your assessment today and take your first step on your Canadian adventure.