Find a Job in International Development
Planning to go abroad? Visit:
Many avenues are open to skilled individuals who wish to work in international development, with either the Government of Canada or its partners:
- Work for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) on a temporary or permanent basis as a federal public servant
- Work as an intern through DFATD’s International Youth Internship Program or through the International Aboriginal Youth Internships initiative
- Work as an advisor or volunteer with a non-governmental organization
- Work as an advisor on contract with an executing agency carrying out an international development project
- Work as a technical advisor on contract with a United Nations agency in a developing country
- Become a development officer at DFATD
DFATD also contracts with consultants in support of its assistance programs and projects.
If you have any comments or questions, contact DFATD by phone or email:Telephone:
1-800-267-8376 (toll-free in Canada)
613-944-4000 (in the National Capital Region and outside Canada)
Email: Enquiry Service - On line form
1. Work for DFATD on a temporary or permanent basis as a federal public servant
The Public Service of Canada is constantly hiring at all levels to ensure that it has the skills, knowledge, and talent base to meet the evolving needs of Canadians and the mandates of each department and agency, including DFATD.
As the nation's largest employer, the Public Service of Canada offers a broad diversity of careers in locations throughout Canada and, particularly in DFATD’s case, around the world. Duties and requirements for skills and experience vary with the position.
When recruiting from outside the public service, preference is given to Canadian citizens, in accordance with the Public Service Employment Act.
How to apply
DFATD recruits employees from outside the public service through the services of the Public Service Commission (PSC), which lists job opportunities open to the public on their Careers in the federal public service website.
The PSC may list some positions separately:
- If you are a postsecondary graduate or will be shortly and are interested in a career in international development with the Government of Canada, visit the PSC's Post-Secondary Recruitment site
- If you are a full-time student looking for summer or part-time employment with DFATD, visit the PSC's Federal Student Work Experience Program site
- If you are enrolled in a work-study program, visit your educational institution's internship office
- If you are presently a federal public service employee or an employee in private business, another level of government, a Crown corporation, a union, an academic institution, or a non-profit organization, you could work with DFATD for a determinate period through Interchange Canada , a program that promotes lasting bridges between the federal public sector and all other sectors, both within Canada and internationally, by offering employees from one sector a temporary assignment in another sector
2. Work as an intern through DFATD's International Youth Internship Program or International Aboriginal Youth Internships initiative
The International Youth Internship Program is part of the Career Focus stream of the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy (YES), which provides Canadian youth with tools and experience they need to launch successful careers.
The International Aboriginal Youth Internships initiative provides opportunities for Aboriginal youth to participate in international internships in developing countries.
3. Work as an advisor or volunteer with a non-governmental organization
The Government of Canada establishes partnerships with many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that carry out international development work overseas. Contracts with a variety of professional and technical duties in all sectors of international development are available with several of these NGOs for work as an advisor or volunteer. Postings in a developing country are usually for up to two years and must be approved by the partner organization in the field. Remuneration varies from one organization to the other and generally includes a living allowance and other forms of compensation. Requirements also vary from one organization to another but generally include:
- Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status
- Relevant professional qualifications
- Experience in the sector concerned
- Belief in the organization's direction and objectives
Apply directly by sending your résumé to the appropriate NGOs. Below you will find a list of the principal NGOs supported by the Government of Canada that send advisors or volunteers to developing countries. You will also find a list of provincial/regional councils supported by the Government of Canada. The members of these umbrella organizations may also send volunteers overseas and their websites provide more information about jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities.
Canada World Youth
Canada World Youth (CWY) designs international educational programs with a focus on volunteer work and community development for youth aged 15 to 29.
Since 1971, CWY has provided more than 33,000 youth safe opportunities by which to gain enriching international experience, learn about other cultures, and become informed and action-oriented global citizens.
Working in partnership with local organizations, CWY programs are two-part, with one phase in Canada and the other in another country in Africa, Latin America, Asia, the West Indies, or Eastern Europe.
Canadian Centre for International Studies and Cooperation
Each year through its volunteer cooperation programs, the Canadian Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI) sends volunteers abroad on two-week to two-year mandates to work on development projects. Volunteers must have qualifications or expertise in sectors such as:
- Humanitarian aid
- Health, including HIV/AIDS intervention
- Primary education, occupational training, and university teaching
- Economic development and fair trade
- Governance and equality between women and men
Crossroads International works with local organizations in West Africa, Southern Africa, and South America that are fighting extreme poverty and the non-respect of women's rights.
Through international volunteering and partnership programs, Crossroads International leverages expertise and resources necessary to address these challenges.
Canadian Executive Service Organization
The Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO) has one of the biggest resource banks of Canadian professional and technical expertise.
CESO sends experts registered in its database to developing countries to assist individuals, businesses, communities, and non-government agencies in carrying out projects related to social and economic development, governance, and environmental sustainability.
Cuso International was created through the 2008 merger between Canadian University Service Overseas, founded in 1961, and Voluntary Service Overseas. It works to reduce poverty through the efforts of volunteers who pass on skills and unlock potential in the following areas: secure livelihoods and natural resource management; education; participation and governance; HIV and AIDS; disability and health. Cuso International's volunteers collaborate with local partner groups on projects in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.
Engineers Without Borders
Each year, Engineers Without Borders (EWB) sends multidisciplinary individuals with specific technical knowledge abroad on short- and long-term placements to promote human development in some of the world's poorest communities.
These volunteer workers help local organizations and entrepreneurs acquire the knowledge, access the technologies, and build the capacities required in finding innovative and appropriate solutions to poverty.
Oxfam-Québec sends interns and volunteer advisors for periods of six months to two years to Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia to participate in sustainable development projects.
Oxfam-Québec is dedicated to building the capacity of its partners and colleagues in developing countries to implement sustainable solutions to poverty.
Solidarité, Union, Coopération (in French)
Solidarité, Union, Coopération (SUCO) is an international cooperation agency that, by sending advisors and interns to developing countries in West Africa, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, aims to:
- Promote the participation of disadvantaged people in development through empowerment and capacity building
- Support the establishment of a participatory democracy that is respectful of individuals and their environment
- Incite Canadians to common action by educating them about the realities and challenges of international development
World University Service of Canada
World University Service of Canada (WUSC) provides qualified individuals and post-secondary students with unique and exciting opportunities to volunteer in Canada and in developing countries. WUSC currently has active projects in southern and western Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East.
WUSC also implements development awareness programs for youth through its network of members and local committees on college and university campuses across Canada.
Youth Challenge International
Youth Challenge International (YCI) carries out projects that address the needs of youth in the following major sustainable development sectors:
- Economic development
These short- and long-term projects are conducted by young volunteers and development professionals. YCI uses a participative approach in which local youth in developing countries actively take part in the projects.
These umbrella organizations represent a wide range of international development organizations and individual associate members working globally for social justice. Each council works with 40 to 70 organizations to increase public engagement in international development.
- Atlantic Council for International Cooperation (ACIC)
- Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI) (in French)
- Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC)
- Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC)
- Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation (SCIC)
- Alberta Council for Global Cooperation (ACGC)
- British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC)
4. Work as an advisor on contract with an executing agency carrying out an international development project
The management of some projects is delegated by the Government of Canada to private sector firms, universities or colleges, Canadian non-government organizations or institutions, and provincial or territorial government departments, commonly known as executing agencies. These projects comprise a variety of professional or technical activities in all development sectors. The executing agency sets the contract requirements, which generally include:
- Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status
- Required skills and experience
- Experience in the field
To apply for a position with one of our partners, send your résumé directly to the organization. Executing agencies generally list positions on their website; others use the career sections of local or national newspapers.
5. Work as a technical advisor on contract with a United Nations agency in a developing country
The Government of Canada collaborates with several United Nations (UN) agencies whose mandates relate to international development. These agencies include:
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
These agencies contract with professional, scientific, or technical experts. To obtain a contract in Canada, candidates must satisfy various requirements, which generally include:
- Canadian citizenship
- University degree in a relevant field
- Minimum five years' experience in the field concerned (preferably in a developing country)
Candidates must apply directly to the agency.
6. Become a development officer at DFATD
The New Development Officers Program is a recruitment and career development program aimed at renewing the department's international development officers. The program establishes a development framework for recruits to acquire the competencies required of a development officer at the PM-4 level.
The date of the next campaign has yet to be determined. Information will be posted on Careers in the federal public service as it becomes available.
- Date Modified: