Summer employment programs and alternative opportunities abound if you know where to look. Check out these resources to start. To learn about strategies for snagging that summer job, visit the Summer Job Search tip sheet.
1. Summer Employment Programs
Federal Student Work Experience Program – FSWEP (Government of Canada)
Overview: Federal departments and agencies recruit for about 8,000 summer positions each year including Student Guide in France; Inshore Rescue Boat Service Student Program, and many others. To be eligible, you must be currently enrolled in full-time studies and returning to full-time studies in September. Preference is given to Canadian citizens.
When/How to Apply: Deadlines vary by posting, but applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis so it's best to apply early. Government departments search through this database when a position comes up and contact students meeting their search criteria.
Student Border Services Officer – Canada Border Services Agency
Overview: Help exercise control over the movement of goods, vehicles, and persons entering or exiting Canada. Positions are posted for various locations. Employment is full-time in the summer. Preference may be given to students in a field of study related to criminology, law, security, law enforcement, psychology, sociology, or police studies. To qualify, students must be returning to full-time studies in the fall. Please refer to the website for additional information and conditions of employment.
When/How to Apply: Student Border Services Officer applications are processed through the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) database. The recruitment period closes at the beginning of January.
Overview: The Department of Canadian Heritage provides summer jobs and internships across Canada for current students and recent graduates. YCW provides opportunities for students in the YCW in Heritage Organizations and the YCW in Both Official Languages programs; graduates can enroll in the YCW at Building Careers in Heritage and the YCW at Building Careers in English and French programs. Jobs may have English/French language requirements. Pay and job duration vary with each position and program. Jobs can be from three to 16 weeks, while internships can be from four to 12 months.
When/How to Apply: Sign up and create an account here. You can browse job listings without signing in, but you must register to express interest in a position.
Overview: This program is offered by Young Canada Works to individuals that complete the Explore program at an institution that offers the Languages at Work program. (Details on the Explore program can be found below in the ‘Alternatives to Summer Work’ section.) Eligible participants can apply to summer placements in their host city that range from three to eight weeks. Participants continue to learn French while working in areas such as retail, tourism, catering, and summer camps.
When/How to Apply: No registration is needed before arriving at your host city for Explore. Once arrived on site for the Explore program, an agent will meet with all bursary recipients and the hiring process (submission of resume and interviews with potential employers) will then begin. Please note that work placements are not guaranteed as it depends on employers’ needs and the level of the participant’s second language.
Post-Secondary Co-op/Internship Program
Overview: This program is a way for students to gain hands-on experience in their fields of study with a federal organization. Applicants must be full-time students enrolled in a co-op/internship program that has been approved for federal organizations to recruit from (please refer to the website for the list). Non-Canadian citizens can apply but preference will be given to Canadian citizens.
When/How to Apply: Students cannot apply on the website but must register with their school’s on-campus co-op/internship program coordinator.
Overview: This paid, two-year Ontario government program gives students an opportunity to participate in assignments in the fields of business and financial planning, human resources, policy development, and more. Participants must have graduated within the last two years or be completing an undergraduate degree, postgraduate certificate or diploma.
When/How to Apply: Apply online through the website. Applications are accepted in the first two weeks of January.
Research Affiliate Program (RAP)
Overview: This program provides post-secondary students with opportunities to conduct innovative research and gain experience with federal organizations in their degree program. Students can be paid an hourly wage, a stipend, or a bursary. They must be enrolled full-time or be enrolled part-time with a disability at their post-secondary academic institution, and in an academic program that requires research as part of their curriculum.
When/How to Apply: Students need to create an account here to search for and apply for RAP jobs. Find RAP jobs by selecting the ‘student programs’ criteria. Applications must be fully completed and submitted online in order to be considered for the job.
National Research Council (NRC) Student Employment Program
Overview: Students gain practical career-related experience in research and development, library sciences, communications, marketing, and other areas. Each term lasts around 16 weeks, with full-time work over non-academic semesters and part-time over academic semesters. You must be returning to full-time studies in September to qualify; preference may be given to students with B+ academic average. Foreign students who meet the eligibility criteria and possess a valid Off-Campus Work Permit can also apply.
When/How to Apply: There is no deadline, but applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis so it is best to apply early. Hiring managers search through this database when a position comes up and contact students meeting their search criteria. Your application is only active until September of the following year; after that, you would need to reapply.
The Ontario Legislature Internship Programme
Overview: Ten interns are selected from across Canada to take part in a nonpartisan program. Interns are involved with the daily workings of the Ontario legislature by providing MPPs with extra staff assistance and write an academic paper on a topic of their choice. Internships begin in September and last for 10 months. The program is open to Canadian citizens who have recently graduated from a Canadian university.
When/How to Apply: Applications are accepted beginning in December; the deadline to apply is usually the end of January. Applications consist of a 600-word letter of interest, a CV, a transcript, and three letters of reference, all submitted online.
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Overview: These awards are meant to stimulate your interest in research in the natural sciences and engineering as well as encourage you to undertake graduate studies and pursue a research career in these fields. If you would like to gain research experience in an academic setting, these awards can provide you with financial support through your host university.
When/How to Apply: Applications, forms and requirements vary based on the opportunity selected. Many application deadlines are determined by individual departments at U of T and can be due as early as November for a summer opportunity. Since applications are submitted with a research supervisor, it is important to find a professor who would be willing to supervise you and apply for this with you in the fall. Find the application form online and apply through the website.
Summer Employment Opportunities (Ontario Government)
Overview: A variety of summer jobs are available in varying fields of the Ontario Public Service. These are full-time temporary positions, lasting seven to 18 weeks in the summer, requiring residency in Ontario during the term of employment. Full-time and part-time students may apply, and recent graduates may apply for and start a position within six months of their graduation date. International students may apply as long as they meet program eligibility with a valid study or work permit and Social Insurance Number.
When/How to Apply: Deadlines vary by posting date – check the website (jobs are posted in early February). Applications must be submitted online and you must submit one document with your application (recommended to attach a resume and cover letter).
Overview: Gain hands-on experience working with industries in research, development, commercialization, and data analytics. If you are a current college or university student, or a recent graduate, you can get up to three 4-month internships in a business where you’ll be working on a project in your discipline or area of specialization. If you are a doctoral student, you can get up to two paid 12-month fellowships to work on industry-driven research and development projects. Undergraduate applicants must be in their final year of study.
When/How to Apply: Applications must be made through the Ontario Centre of Innovation. Applications for graduate or undergraduate internships can be submitted at any time and will be reviewed throughout the year. To apply, visit the website.
Summer Work Experience for Geoscience Students
Overview: Full-time undergraduate students and prospective or full-time graduate students in the geosciences or related studies at university/college can apply for opportunities such as bedrock geological mapping, environment and surficial investigations, aggregate and industrial mineral assessments, and groundwater quality and aquifer mapping. Basic CPR training is required, as well as some knowledge/experience with applicable computer software and hardware. Applicants must be willing to work outdoors for extended periods of time. The average field season is 12-14 weeks in the summer.
When/How to Apply: Check the website; the deadline to apply is usually mid-March. Download the application form from the website, then send the completed application by email or mail with a cover letter and resume.
Overview: Offering opportunities at sports camps, day camps, arts, parks, and aquatics programs within the community.
When/How to Apply: Deadlines vary – please check individual postings for application deadlines.
Overview: The City of Toronto hires individuals interested in working in the public service and customer service industries. Some of the job streams include health, education, and community recreation.
When/How to Apply: Deadlines vary by posting date – check the website.
Overview: The City of Brampton recruits individuals to work in summer camps, parks maintenance and operations, construction, and more.
When/How to Apply: Candidates are encouraged to apply online. Alternatively, applications can be completed at an application kiosk at City Hall. Deadlines vary by posting date – check the website.
There are numerous programs that support young entrepreneurs. Find information at the following sites:
- Ontario Government - Summer Company Program
- Ontario Government – Starter Company Program
- Ontario Government – Youth Investment Accelerator Fund
- Ontario Innovation Centre - SmartStart Seed Fund
- School for Social Entrepreneurs
- MaRS Entrepreneurship 101
- Start-Up Here Toronto
- Business Start-Ups Toronto
- Small Business Advisory Centre - Summer Company
3. Summer Travel Abroad
Working is only one way to spend your summer! Consider other alternatives such as travelling, learning a new language, or volunteering. Here are a few suggestions:
Student Work Abroad Program (SWAP)
Overview: SWAP helps students with work visas and finding employment or volunteer positions in countries such as Australia, Ireland, Austria, Japan, the United States, and more. Orientation sessions are held upon arrival in the host country. SWAP is not a job placement agency.
When/How to Apply: Varies by country; visit the website for more information, or fill out the online application form to apply.
Overview: Take a U of T undergraduate credit course abroad where the country will become your ‘living textbook’. Courses are offered in Australia, Central Europe, China, Ecuador, England, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, and Spain. Course length varies from 3 to 6 weeks. Bursaries, awards, and scholarships are available. Check the website for info session dates.
When to Apply: Space is limited, so apply early. Summer Abroad application forms will be online from mid-December. The deadline to apply for all programs is February 3. U of T students wishing to be considered for financial assistance offered through Woodsworth College must apply by February 3.
Overview: Learn French this summer in a five-week program at another Canadian academic institution. The program includes a $2,800 bursary covering tuition fees, instructional materials, meals, and accommodations. This is a prerequisite for the “Languages at Work Program” mentioned above under Summer Employment Programs.
When/How to Apply: The deadline to apply to Explore is the middle of February. Application forms are available online.
For many students, volunteering is an excellent means of career exploration, developing skills and experience, cultivating contacts, and getting involved in your community! For more information regarding volunteering drop by the Career Centre and ask a Career Assistant to help you discover various opportunities. Also, check out our ‘Volunteering’ tip sheet.
Overview: This program offers a variety of outreach activities to increase younger students' interest in science and engineering, including DEEP Summer Academy and Robotics.
When/How to Apply: Check the website for the volunteer application information.
Volunteer Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon
Peel Community Services Directory
Government of Canada (Students)
5. Work Search Websites
UTM Career Centre
The following web pages provide industry-specific job boards and links:
Job Bank: Look at career profiles and labour market information by clicking on ‘Explore Careers’ or use this link.
Career Bookmarks – Toronto Public Library
Career Cruising – via the Resources section of the U of T Career Learning Network; visit a career profile and select ‘Find Jobs’.
Youth Resource Network of Canada
Government of Ontario (see the Student and New Professionals link)
GoodWork Canada (Environmental jobs)
6. Online Publications and News Releases
Globe and Mail - Report on Business
7. Professional Associations and Industry Sites
Innovation, Science and Economic Development -- Choose English or French, then enter Company Directories in the Search box
Helpful Tip: Another work search strategy is to view previously posted positions that have expired. This is useful in finding out when certain positions were posted in the past, job description details (requirements and skills needed), and company research. Visit the Career Centre Resource Library to view past job, internship and volunteer postings. Please ask staff for help if you need assistance.
Information is subject to change. Please check websites for the most up-to-date information.
Updated August 4, 2022.