A labour disruption, commonly known as a “strike,” can stress any student. For international students, it can be particularly challenging because they may wonder about its implications for their status in Canada.

The good news is that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recognizes that a strike is a “situation beyond your control” and assures students that it should not affect their status.

However, international students should be aware that, even though a strike does not directly impact their study permit, they must still adhere to the terms and conditions of their study permit. Any unintentional violation of these terms and conditions due to the strike may jeopardize their status.

How can students lose their status during a strike?

As international students, they can take a leave from their studies for a maximum of 150 days. If their leave extends beyond 150 days due to:

  1. A strike.
  2. A break in their studies (including regularly scheduled breaks).
  3. A combination of the two.

Their status will automatically become invalid by law. If the strike causes a delay in returning to classes that exceeds 150 days, students must either:

  1. Leave Canada.
  2. Change their status.

Can students work during a strike?

The standard rules regarding international students working in Canada still apply during a strike. Since a strike does not constitute a regularly scheduled break, the following rules apply:

  1. Students are limited to working 20 hours a week off-campus during what would have been regularly scheduled classes.
  2. They can work unlimited hours on campus (provided that on-campus work is still available). If the strike continues into a regularly scheduled break, they may work more than 20 hours a week off-campus, as long as their study permit remains valid, and their absence from classes does not exceed 150 days.

Can students change their Designated Learning Institution (DLI)?

Students have the flexibility to change their DLI at any time without needing to apply for a new study permit. However, it is essential to report this change to IRCC through their MyCIC portal and return to being a full-time student within 150 days. Failure to do so will require them to either change their status or leave Canada within 150 days.

Will this affect students’ eligibility for a Post-Graduation Work Permit?

A strike will not impact students’ eligibility for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, as long as they resume full-time studies, change their status, or leave Canada within 150 days.