The following are common questions about lnternational Experience Canada as well as traveling and working in Canada.
Q: My contact information has changed since I initially registered. Can I change my information?
A: Yes. Log in to your IEC Kompass account, choose My profile and make the desired changes.
Q: How long will my IEC Kompass account stay open?
A: Your Kompass account will stay open throughout the calendar year.
Q: What do I do if I forget my password?
A: Follow the prompts at <Forgot my password> from the IEC Kompass login page. You can get to the login page directly from the tab on the left-side menu.
Q: What is the difference between IEC Kompass and MyCIC?
A: The application process to participate in the International Experience Canada initiative is comprised of two stages. The first stage to assess program eligibility criteria for which you must create an IEC online account (Kompass). Once you have received a conditional acceptance letter via IEC Kompass, you will be directed to initiate the Come to Canada wizard and create a secure MyCIC account in order to start the second stage of the application process.
Q: How can I know the status of my application?
A: To check your application status, <Log in> to your IEC Kompass account and look at <My Application Status>.
Q: Can I submit a document that has more than one page?
A: Documents that are more than one page, need to be scanned and uploaded as one pdf document.
Q: I cannot login to my IEC Kompass account. Can you help me?
A: To login to your IEC Kompass account, please ensure that you have done the following:
Q: Is the number of places limited? What is the quota?
A: There is a limit of 50 places for 2013, assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.
Q: How old must I be to be eligible?
A: International Experience Canada (IEC) is open to people aged 18 to 35. If you are about to turn 18, or will soon turn 36, please note that the age criteria are assessed as of the date your application was stamped as received by the Embassy of Canada to Latvia.
Q: My IEC application has been approved, but I will soon turn 36. Do I have to enter Canada before my birthday? Will my birthday limit the validity of my work permit?
A: No to both questions. Your Letter of Introduction is valid for presentation at a Canadian port of entry for one year from the date of issue and is not affected if you turn 36 within its validity period
Q: How long does my passport have to be valid for, in order to apply?
A: You must hold a valid passport at the time you submit your application. If you have been accepted as a participant and you are preparing to enter Canada through IEC, the validity period of your passport should cover the whole time you plan to stay in Canada (up to one year), The validity period of your work permit may not extend beyond the validity period of your passport.
Q: How long does it take for approval of my application?
A: Please review our Service Standards.
Q: Do I need to have a job lined up in Canada before I apply?
A: That depends. If you are applying under the Working Holiday category, you do not need to have a job lined up in Canada before you apply.
However, if you are applying under either the Young Professionals or the International Co-op (Internship) categories, you need to have obtained a pre-arranged contract for a job, work placement or internship in Canada. The Embassy of Canada to Latvia cannot help you locate prospective employers in Canada. You can find an employer through travel and work abroad organizations, recruitment agencies, Internet job sites or newspapers. You can also consult Working in Canada.
Q: What type of insurance must I subscribe to before leaving for Canada?
A: IEC requires you to buy and maintain health-care insurance (covering medical care, hospitalization and repatriation) for the entire duration of your stay in Canada. We recommend that you buy this insurance only after you have received your Letter of Introduction, confirming that your IEC application was successful.
You may be refused entry if you do not have insurance. If your insurance policy is valid for less than 12 months, you may be issued a work permit that expires at the same time as your insurance. In this case, you are not eligible to apply for an extension of your work permit at a later date
Q: I do not have an Latvian passport. Is there a working holiday arrangement for me?
A: You can visit International Experience Canada to see whether your country of citizenship (that is, the country that issued your passport) is covered by a similar arrangement.
Q: Can I participate in the Canada IEC initiative more than once?
A: Yes, you may participate in the IEC initiative twice under the Canada-Latvia youth mobility agreement; however, each participation must be under a different IEC category. You must leave Canada after your first participation before you can submit an application to participate in the IEC initiative the second time.
Q: If I am issued an IEC Letter of Introduction but do not use it, will I get back the program participation fee? Can I apply again in subsequent years?
A: No. Fees are non-reimbursable once the Letter of Introduction is issued, and each individual can only participate under the agreement twice. You are deemed a participant once you are issued a Letter of Introduction.
Q: I would like to take advantage of IEC to travel within Canada in 2014. What are the criteria?
A: Information on the 2014 IEC will be posted toward the end of 2013.
However, you may apply under the 2013 IEC Working Holiday category if you plan to enter Canada in 2014, depending on which month you intend to enter. If your application to IEC is successful, you will receive a Letter of Introduction that is valid for one year from the date of issue (this is not your actual work permit). For example, if you were issued a Letter of Introduction on June 15, 2013, you would have until the June 14, 2014, to enter Canada.
Q: Why should I participate? What’s in it for me?
A: What you learn from other cultures and the self-reliance you gain from living and working abroad are highly marketable assets in a global economy. Companies with international operations often seek individuals who are able to communicate effectively in more than one language, and who can understand the nuances of a different culture and its values. An international experience in Canada can help you build these skills and more!
Q: Is my home country participating in these programs?
A: IEC is available in several countries and we are adding new ones all the time. Please see the list of all participating countries on the International Experience Canada website.
Q: Do you provide financial assistance?
A: A travel and work year in Canada can be a very rewarding experience, but it can be expensive. Plan accordingly. International Experience Canada does not provide any financial assistance. You are responsible for your own journey including your travel arrangements, airfare, participation fee, accommodation costs and finding employment in Canada.
Q: What kind of jobs can I find in Canada?
A: All kinds! It depends on what you want to do and how hard you want to look for employment. Many of our participants find work in the tourism and hospitality industries (for example, in restaurants, pubs, hotels), where Canadian employers are willing to offer temporary work. You can also get work experience in a variety of other fields such as science, law, education, commerce, or administration.
Q: I am not a student. Can I still participate?
A: Of course! International Experience Canada is open to students and non-students aged between 18 and 35 who want to travel and work in Canada.
Q: What is a Letter of Introduction?
A: A Letter of Introduction is a document sent from a visa office to confirm approval of:
The Letter of Introduction is not a work permit in itself. You must present your letter, along with other required documents, to a border service officer at a Canadian port of entry (airport, land crossing). The officer will then issue the work permit.
Q: What is the difference between a work permit obtained through IEC and any other kind of work permit?
A: A work permit obtained through IEC is only issued to persons who meet the specific IEC eligibility criteria and who are admissible to Canada. For other work permits you require an offer of employment in Canada. In most cases, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada must also provide a Labour Market Opinion.
Q: I have replaced the passport under which my Letter of Introduction was issued (because it was damaged/ lost/ stolen/ I got married) and am about to travel to Canada. May I still use the Letter of Introduction to obtain my work permit?
A: Yes, as long as the validity period of the Letter of Introduction has not expired. When entering Canada, you must notify the border service officer of this change so that your work permit may be issued in accordance with your current passport information. We recommend that you bring a photocopy of your previous passport along with your current valid passport for presentation at the port of entry. If you changed your passport because you got married, please also bring a copy of your marriage certificate.
Q: Can I volunteer while in Canada?
A: Yes. You may volunteer during your stay in Canada under the Working Holiday category. However, participants in the Young Professionals and International Co-op (Internship) categories, should be careful because they do not have “open” work permits and some types of volunteer work may not be allowed. If you have any concerns, you can call Citizenship and Immigration Canada at 1 888 242 2100 to discuss your options.
Q: I currently have a valid IEC work permit. Can it be extended?
A: No, your current work permit obtained through IEC cannot be extended, nor can you apply for a new work permit under the same IEC category. However, you may apply for a new work permit under another category in which you have not yet participated.
Q: Is it possible to enrol in a course during my stay in Canada while participating in the IEC initiative?
A: Yes, but the course (or courses) must be completed within a six-month period. You may not sign up for a course that is part of a program lasting more than six months (such as a two-year program or four-year degree). In this case, a separate study permit would be required. The working holiday experiences through International Experience Canada may not be combined with formal studies. For more information about studying in Canada and work opportunities as a student, visit the Council of Ministers of Education website, and for scholarships, visit the International Scholarship website.
Q: I am currently in Canada with a work permit issued under the IEC initiative. My employer would like me to continue working after the permit expires. Is this possible under IEC? What should I do?
A: A work permit cannot be renewed or extended under the same IEC category. If you wish to prolong your stay in Canada under a second IEC category, you must submit a new application to the Embassy of Canada to Latvia. This process will take up to 8 weeks. To be eligible, you must be a Latvian citizen residing in Latvia at the time of application. This work permit cannot be obtained through CIC Vegreville, Alberta.
Q: Can I change my status (from worker to visitor; from worker to student, from student to worker, from IEC participant to another category of temporary worker through CIC ) while I am in Canada?
A: You must go to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website or call 1-888-242-2100 to check the requirements for changing the conditions of your work permit or extending your stay in Canada. You should make your inquiries after entry to Canada, while your document is still valid.
Q: Does the time on my work permit go “on hold” if I temporarily leave Canada?
A: No, the time on your permit continues to run out. The time cannot be put on hold.