Press Room

Changes Announced for IEC Program

December 3, 2015 – The Government of Canada recently announced a major overhaul of the application process for the International Experience Canada program. The changes, effective November 21, 2015, will alter the way candidates for the quota limited program are selected.


The International Experience Canada (IEC) program is the result of bilateral agreements between Canada and other countries that permit young people to earn international work experience in Canada. Program quotas and specific requirements vary by country of origin, but applicants must generally be between the ages of 18-35, with work permits lasting up to 24 months. There are three program streams: Working Holiday; Young Professionals; and Co-op.

The Changes

In previous years, candidates made their application to one of the three program streams and applications were processed on a “first-come/first-served” basis. Quotas for the most popular programs, the Working Holiday program in particular, were filled quickly – often within minutes of opening.

As of November 21, 2015:

  • Candidates in each program stream will apply into a pool for selection
  • Candidates will be placed in all available pools for which they are eligible, based on their qualifications and the programs available for their country of origin
  • Candidates will receive an invitation to apply for a work permit if they are selected from one of the three pools
  • Invitations for the Working Holiday program will be randomized
  • Once invited, candidates will have 10 days to decide if they will accept the invitation
  • Once accepted, candidates will have 20 days to submit their online work permit application

These changes aim to make the application process fairer for applicants in quota-limited streams, particularly for the over-subscribed Working Holiday program.

Business in sectors that rely heavily on the program, particularly tourism, hospitality and accommodation, should examine their recruiting strategies abroad to account for these changes.

If you would like more information about the IEC program, or would like assistance in making an application, please contact Green and Spiegel.