What is Co-op in Canada?

Co-operative Education Programs (Co-op) in Canada integrates a student’s academic studies with work experience in an employer organization. Students alternate periods of work with academic terms according to the following criteria:

  • The student is engaged in productive work rather than merely observing
  • The student receives remuneration for the work performed
  • The student’s performance is supervised by the employer and progress is monitored by program staff
  • Each four month period (academic term) the student is registered in a Co-op course and receives a ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’ grade based on work performance, his or her employer evaluation and a satisfactory grade on a technical report


Why Hire a Canada-Japan Co-op Program Student?

The Canada-Japan Co-op Program provides the opportunity for the successful integration of work in Japan. It is an educational program that links three major groups: Canadian students, Japanese employers and educational institutions across Canada.

Canada-Japan Co-op students are members of their home educational institution’s undergraduate Co-operative Education Programs. Throughout their degrees they alternate paid work terms with academic terms at university. The diversity of Canada-Japan Co-op work term positions and the training and experience received prepare Co-op students for the workplace demands they will encounter during their degree and after graduation. Canada-Japan Co-op students are registered in academic co-op courses throughout their duration in Japan. Each co-op course spans a four-month academic term (January – April, May – August and September – December) and each Canada-Japan Co-op student receives a grade on their academic transcript for every four month co-op work term/internship period in Japan.

Canada-Japan Co-op students gain a broad range of technical skills during their work terms which, when paired with their academic knowledge, analytical and research skills, are valuable in any workplace. The Canada-Japan Co-op Program provides many advantages to students and employers.

For Canada-Japan Co-op employers the advantages of hiring a Canada-Japan Co-op student include:

  • Accessing high-achieving, mature, technically-skilled university and college students across Canada who have been pre-selected into the Canada-Japan Co-op based on their academic excellence, personal strengths and willingness and desire to work for a Japanese employer
  • Availability of Canada-Japan Co-op students for co-op work terms/internships for four to twelve months commencing in January, May or September
  • Providing a cost-effective way to staff peak periods or complete special projects
  • The opportunity to train and test potential Canadian employees to fill company needs – a cost saving human resource advantage
  • Opportunities for other employees to learn about the Canadian culture and gain international perspectives
  • Full support from the Canada-Japan Co-op Program staff in English and Japanese in all areas of the program including: job posting, interview coordination, matching, visa document preparation, student performance monitoring, site visits and student evaluation and feedback


For students it provides an opportunity to:

  • Broaden their international outlook and perspective on career and education goals
  • Enhance their value to Canadian and Japanese industry
  • Participate in the one week mandatory ‘Canada-Japan Co-op Program Training Week’, during which valuable career training, cultural and Japanese business etiquette skills are taught to assist students during their Canada-Japan Co-op work experience and future employment.
  • Gain a degree and at the same time participate in a relevant, valuable and paid international work experience in Japan
  • Assess a potential Japanese employer for a full time work experience after graduation
  • Travel and learn another language and culture


Our past Canada-Japan Program Japanese employers have advised that by participating in the program a multitude of benefits as outlined above have been provided in addition to the opportunity to:

  • Engage in international cooperation and to provide an environment for cross-cultural and intellectual exchange amongst Japanese employees and Canadian students
  • Obtain skills from excellent young researchers and achieve productive and useful research results in a cost effective manner
  • Learn more about Canada, its science, technology and business capabilities and to develop a network of contacts with Canadian educational institutions


For more comments from our participating Japanese employers, please feel free to view their testimonials at the the employer testimonials page.