To be successful in a summer work search, it is important to start as early as possible and to know what you want to get from your summer employment experience. Do you want to work in a job related to your future career?  Do you want to improve your transferable and/or work-related skills? Is income the most important consideration? Here are some tips to help you get started on your search. 

  • Check the local newspaper help wanted ads and local jobs web sites. No summer postings? Try contacting the employers based on the full-time work postings - "I saw your ad for _______ in the newspaper and would very much like to do something similar with you as a summer student."
  • Search the job databases that focus on summer jobs, summer camp jobs, and internships. Also search the entry-level and top job databases using "summer" as a search term
  • Generate your own leads using the yellow pages and other directories to obtain organization names. Then send a résumé and letter of inquiry, and follow up with a call to inquire about summer employment opportunities. Be prepared to give a 30-60 second “infomercial” regarding your skills, accomplishments, and motivation for working with them. Most summer jobs are acquired through this technique. Directories are available at Centre for Career Development, Dana Porter, and Davis Centre libraries
  • Consider internship opportunities as well as summer job listings. An internship is an ideal opportunity to gain experience in a particular career field. Internships can also supplement academic classes
  • Contact local temp agencies. These often have summer positions providing a great way to get office experience
  • Read the business section of the local newspapers or the Globe and Mail Report on Business the Financial Post and watch your local news. Pay attention to reports on companies that are expanding and organizations that are getting involved in new projects. Get in touch with these companies and find out if they require any additional help over the summer
  • Start your own business and demonstrate your entrepreneurial spirit to future employers. Consider your own skills and interests as well as the needs of the local economy where you will be spending your summer
  • Devise a work search plan that has multiple methods of finding or creating job possibilities. About 75–85% of all job opportunities are never posted publicly, so do not rely solely on advertisements and postings

To learn more about successful work search strategies, refer to the Work: Find/Create section of the UW CareerHub at You may also wish to attend a Centre for Career Development workshop on this topic, and/or book an individual appointment through Assistance with résumés/letters and interview skills can also be accessed through this link.

In addition, here are some summer employment programs you may wish to investigate:

Ontario Government regular summer student hiring

Ontario government ministries and agencies provide a wide range of interesting summer jobs for students throughout Ontario.

Geological Survey of Canada

Defence Research and Development Canada

Link to Directory of federal government departments and crown corporations:

Province of Quebec employment programs

Province of Quebec Industrial Directory by sector

Community Access Program Youth Initiative

The Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP)

This is a program through which federal organizations recruit students.

Job Bank

Is an electronic listing of jobs from employers across Canada.

Government of Canada Summer Work Experience

The Government of Canada initiatives provide summer employment for secondary and post-secondary students.

Young Canada Works

Summer jobs and internships.

National Research Council (NRC) Summer Employment Program

First Nations and Inuit Student Summer Employment Opportunities Program

Summer Company

The Summer Company program provides hands-on business training and mentoring (along with awards of up to $3,000) to help enterprising young people start up and run their own summer business.

Ministry of Natural Resources

Conservation Ontario

Site represents 36 Ontario conservation authorities – posts job listings

Ontario Camps Association

A variety of jobs in summer camps.

University of Waterloo Campus Summer Positions

Summer work opportunities are available on campus. Visit the University of Waterloo Human Resources web site.

Boards of Education

School boards offer positions in summer school and summer camps. Apply directly to the school boards in your community. For a directory of Ontario's Public and Catholic School Boards, search for the board(s) of your choice.

Crown Corporations

A number of Crown Corporations hire students. They can be found in the Federal Government telephone directory. Generally, these potential employers can hire directly and do not go through the Public Service Commission.


A number of hospitals in larger cities carry out a variety of routine biochemical tests and research projects. Their professional staff often have university faculty affiliations and have research grants to hire students. Apply directly to hospitals, e.g., Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, McMaster Medical Centre in Hamilton, St. Joseph’s Hospital and University Hospital in London.

Your Local Government

Most regional municipalities in Ontario hire students for the summer. Parks, public works, health services and environmental services departments hire students for multicultural programs, lab analysis, fieldwork, road survey construction including water systems and general labour.

CEE Will Continue to Look for Job Leads

Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) will continue to actively search for employment leads for unemployed co-op students until the end of the second month of the work term. Even after the mid-point of the work term, CEE will continue to refer hiring employers to unemployed co-op students.

Remember that job leads can come from almost anywhere! Continue to make new contacts and alert people to your search for employment.