05 Jul Activating your IEC Permit–ONE TIME ACTIVATION FOR TWO YEARS
The International Experience Canada Working Holiday program is a 2-year initiative. Though many Irish nationals are choosing to use the working holiday as a chance for a summer abroad, it’s important to understand the regulations are designed for the full 2-year program.
A bit of background: The Working Holiday used to be a 1-year initiative—it was extended to 2 years as a bonus to some countries, one of which is Ireland. This is not a J-1 summer visa (the US program many Irish have availed of in the past). Canada does not have a youth summer visa.
Those who have received letters of introduction from the IEC for a working holiday permit must arrive at the Canadian port of entry with the full 2 year’s insurance. If you arrive with insurance for a shorter period, you will receive a work permit for this period only. Individuals who activate a few months one summer may not return the following summer to activate the remaining months—activation happens once. To avail of your full permit (even if you plan on coming and going from one summer to the next) you need to arrive with proof of 2 year’s insurance.
See here from the IEC’s Prepare for Arrival page:
Note that they clearly state: “If your insurance policy is valid for less than your expected stay, you will be issued a work permit that expires at the same time as your insurance. If this happens, you will not be able to apply to change the conditions of your work permit at a later date.”