Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

FAQs for interns: International Youth Internship Program

1. When are internship positions posted on the website?

Between 2009 and 2014, the International Youth Internship Program will provide funding on a continuous basis. As a result of this new approach, internship positions can be posted at any time during the year.

2. When do the internships start?

The actual start date of the overseas portion of the internship will vary from organization to organization. The start date for the internship may be affected by several factors, including:

  • When the Canadian partner organization receives approval from CIDA and begins its recruitment process;
  • The duration of the recruitment process by the Canadian partner organization;
  • When the host organization needs the intern to begin;
  • How long it takes to complete pre-departure activities (obtaining visas, pre-departure training, language training, etc).

3. What is CIDA's role in the IYIP?

CIDA is one of 11 federal departments that participate in the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy (YES). CIDA funds selected Canadian partner organizations (CPOs) to deliver IYIP projects in accordance with agreed administrative and financial procedures. The Canadian partner organizations are ultimately responsible for the implementation of the program (i.e. finances, intern selection, pre-departure training and debriefing, overseas support, job search support, etc).

One of CIDA's priority concerns is the personal security of participants who go abroad as part of the IYIP. CIDA works with Canadian partner organizations to ensure that no youth are placed in countries where they might face undue risk.

4. If I turn 31 during my internship, am I still eligible to apply for the program?

Yes. You must meet all the eligibility criteria at the time of signing your contract with your Canadian partner organization. So, if you are 30 at the time of signing your contract, you are still eligible.

5. What does underemployed or unemployed mean?

Underemployed can be interpreted as: an individual working in his/her field of study but only on a part-time basis (less than 35 hours per work week); or an individual working on a full or part-time basis in an area that is not related to his/her field of study.

An individual is considered unemployed if he/she is not performing any activities for which he/she is receiving remuneration at the time he/she signed the contract with his/her Canadian partner organization.

6. If I am currently receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, may I still apply?

Yes, you may apply. However, you cannot be in receipt of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits while participating in the program. If accepted to the program, EI recipients have to voluntarily withdraw from EI by the time they sign their agreement with their Canadian partner organization. These individuals should consult their EI agent, for more information.

7. If I have student loans, can I still participate in the program? Would I be able to receive interest relief?

You can still participate in the International Youth Internship Program if you have student loans. Some students with government loans may be eligible for interest relief during their internship. Your Canadian partner organization will provide you with a letter to support your application for interest relief. For more information, please visit CanLearn.

8. What does youth who are out-of-school mean?

"Out of school" means you have no co-ops, theses, or terms left to complete to satisfy your degree requirements, regardless of whether you are an undergraduate, Masters, or PhD student. If you are in your last year of studies, you may apply as long as you have graduated by the time you sign your contract with your Canadian partner organization. Law graduates who have no yet been called to the Bar are considered eligible, even if they are registered in a Bar Admission Program.

9. What does youth for whom this would be the first paid career-related international experience mean?

Priority will be given to individuals who have not already had an opportunity to work abroad in an area related to their field of study, regardless of the duration. Individuals who have never worked abroad, or who have worked abroad in areas not related to their field of study are encouraged to apply.

10. Why can I only participate once in the Career Focus Program of the Youth Employment Strategy?

The purpose of Career Focus is to provide a work experience that facilitates the transition to the labour market. Given the skills level of this target group, the number of work experience available under the YES, and the number of young people needing experience, Canadian youth are limited to one Career Focus work experience opportunity.

11. Can I participate in the program if I am not a Canadian citizen, and not a permanent resident of Canada?

No. All interns of the IYIP must be either Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, as they must be legally entitled to work in Canada. Even if you hold a valid work permit in Canada, you are not eligible to apply.

12. Do I need to have a post-secondary degree or diploma in order to participate?

Yes. To participate in a Career Focus Program of the Youth Employment Strategy, the participant must be a post-secondary graduate of a degree or diploma program from universities; colleges; post-secondary schools of technology; post-secondary institutes; or a CEGEP (collège d'enseignement général et professionnel).

13. How do I apply? Where do I find the application form for IYIP?

  • Make sure you are eligible by reviewing the eligibility criteria;
  • Consult Internships by Organization to review the internships posted by Canadian partner organizations.
  • Visit the website of the Canadian partner organization and review the information provided on its website;
  • Follow the application instructions provided on the Canadian partner organization's website and submit your application accordingly.

Since each Canadian partner organization posted on our website does its own recruiting, the application procedure and deadline dates will vary from one organization to another. Please do not submit your application directly to CIDA.

14. Am I allowed to apply for more than one internship position?

Yes, you may apply for more than one internship position.

15. How long are the internships?

Internships are 6 to 12 months long and include a minimum of 6 months working in a developing country. Please note, that the IYIP does not offer short summer internships.

16. Who are the host organizations that provide these international experiences?

Canadian partner organizations implement their projects through long-term relationships they have built with overseas organizations. These overseas partners are the ones that host interns for the program. CIDA and its field offices analyze each of the proposed internships and the capacity of host organizations, as identified by the Canadian partner organization.

View the current internship postings sorted by overseas host organization.

17. In which countries does IYIP have internships?

To meet CIDA's mandate, our internships are based in the Regions and Countries where CIDA funds projects.

You may also view the current internships posted by country.

18. Will I be paid for this internship?

Each intern receives a living allowance to contribute towards the basic expenses of the internship. CIDA allocates up to $15,000 per internship to Canadian partner organizations to cover your living allowance, travel costs (i.e. flight, visas), pre-departure training, the organization's administrative costs, and other eligible expenses. Please note that up to $3,000 may be used by your Canadian partner organization for administrative costs. Your allowance can vary depending on the length of the internship, travel costs, costs of living in the host country, the Canadian partner organization and your own contribution.

Interns may be requested to contribute to the cost of the internship. Canadian partner organizations cannot request a cash contribution from an intern superior to its own cash contribution and under no circumstances should the intern's contribution exceed $1,000. An intern's inability to contribute cannot be a barrier to participation in the program.

19. Is the living allowance taxable?

The living allowance is taxable in Canada. An intern's employment status will determine the type of allowance he/she receives, which will affect their tax return. The employment status can vary from one organization to the next. The status will also determine whether the organization/intern must contribute to Employment Insurance. Employment status and taxation issues should be discussed carefully between the intern and Canadian partner organization at the time of drafting their agreement. For more information on taxation issues visit the Canada Revenue Agency.