The issuance of a Post-Graduation Work Permit is subject to policy. Policy is not law. Rather policy consists of non-binding guidelines an immigration officer may use to assess a work permit. In reality however, officers would interpret the Post-Graduation Work Permit criteria in a strict fashion as if it were law. It is unfortunate that such an important program, which forms the pathway to permanent resident status for most study permit holders, is not embedded in the law.
However, the new changes announced on St. Valentine’s day, 2019-02-14, provide necessary flexibility to the program. One welcome change is that one no longer needs to possess a study permit when filing a Post-Graduation Work Permit. This reduces pressure on students who may have academic tasks such as exams and allows them more flexibility as to when they can apply for this type of work permit.
Another positive change is the expanded time frame in which to apply for this work permit. Formerly, there was only a 90 day window in which to apply, but this has now been expanded to within 180 days of fulfilling the requirements for graduation.
Some clarification on distance learning has been mentioned, specifically, that if the amount of distance learning is less than 50 percent, then the person should not apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit.
There is a reference (perhaps for completeness) that this type of work permit allows for self-employment. It would be preferable to not mention this in the official government policy because self-employment often cuts off the pathway to the Canada Experience Class pathway to permanent resident status.
Another change is that the requirement to be 18 years of age or older has been removed. This change would likely not have much of a difference given that most persons who complete qualified studies would typically be over the age of 18.
Those persons who were refused their Post-Graduation Work Permit applications within the past 170 days or so may want to submit a new application. The government policy details are HERE.