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WINNIPEG, October 31, 2003 - The Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoba today launched an innovative two-year pilot program to permit international post-secondary students studying in the province to work off campus. The joint federal-provincial program is one of several new tools designed to help make Canadian universities and colleges destinations of choice for international students.

“International students enrich the life of every campus by bringing new ideas, talents and cultures with them,” said the Honourable Denis Coderre, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). “Off-campus work programs will help to make our post-secondary institutions even more attractive internationally by giving students the opportunity to earn while they learn and gain some experience in the Canadian labour market.”

The Manitoba pilot will allow full-time international students who have completed one year of study at a public college or university in the province to apply for an open work permit. The permit will allow them to work off campus for a maximum of 20 hours a week while they are registered as full-time students. Currently, full-time international students in Canada are only allowed to work on the campus of the institution at which they are registered.

CIC will issue work permits to eligible international students for periods of one year. Manitoba Advanced Education and Training will ensure the pilot project is implemented in a consistent manner throughout the province. Manitoba's publicly funded post-secondary institutions have agreed to monitor student compliance with the project guidelines. Manitoba Labour and Immigration will act in an advisory capacity and facilitate communications with CIC.

“This pilot creates opportunities for international students to participate more fully in Manitoba’s communities during their studies,” said Diane McGifford, Manitoba Minister of Advanced Education and Training. “Pioneering dynamic models of cooperation like this between strong federal-provincial partners enriches both the student and the local community.”

“This pilot agreement should encourage more international students to register for post-secondary studies in the province,” said Steve Ashton, Manitoba Minister of Labour and Immigration. “It is a very creative and practical way for the students to experience the working world off campus in Manitoba and learn first hand what a great province we live in.”

Manitoba played an instrumental role in establishing how the international student off-campus work pilot will function as well as the duties and responsibilities of each level of government. An advisory committee with federal, provincial and institutional representation will manage the pilot and provide ongoing evaluation.

For more information:

Internet sites:  www.cic.gc.ca or www.gov.mb.ca