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I am from Ireland. My application for a Canadian working holiday visa has been accepted (through the IEC programme, I have my Port of Entry letter, and when I arrive I should get a work permit). It is a 2 year visa, and I want to stay for the full 2 years.

I plan to go to Canada in March 2015, but my Irish passport expires in May 2016.

If I arrive in Canada with this passport, will I only be able to get a work permit up until May 2016? This would limit my 2 year visa to 14 months.

If it is limited by my passport expiring, can I extend this afterwards so that I can stay for the full 2 years? (assuming I can renew my passport while I am in Canada)

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Correct, you will not be able to receive a work permit for the full 2 years, because according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada,

your work permit in Canada will not be longer than the validity of your passport

And unfortunately, it appears that you can't extend this afterwards. The CIC says that

International Experience Canada (IEC) participants cannot renew or extend their work permits under IEC.

Another CIC help page suggests that to spend more time working in Canada, you could either apply through another (non-IEC) program, or a "second participation" in IEC. However, this second participation might not be useful for you, as seen on the first link:

As an Irish citizen, you may participate in the Working Holiday category only once. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may participate in IEC one more time through the International Co-op (Internship) category.

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