Government of Canada launches student work placements - Helping 60,000 post-secondary students get important work-ready skills over the next five years

KITCHENER, ON, Aug. 31, 2017 /CNW/ - Giving post-secondary students the chance to learn in a hands-on work environment is part of the Government's plan to put Canada's greatest strength—its skilled, hard-working people—at the heart of a more innovative new economy.

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, today announced that the Government of Canada will help create 60,000 student work placements over the next five years.

The Government of Canada is rolling out a $73-million investment in the Student Work-Integrated Learning Program to create 10,000 paid student work placements over the next four years, facilitating stronger partnerships between employers and partnering polytechnics, universities, and colleges. Budget 2017 also announced $221 million in funding over five years for Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that provides research internships with a goal of creating 10,000 work placements per year.

Minister Chagger made the announcement at D2L Corporation, during an event hosted by the Information Technology Council of Canada (ITAC), one of several industry partners working with the Government of Canada. ITAC acts as a vital connection between business and government, providing members with networking and professional services to help them succeed. ITAC, which has taken a leadership role in providing student work placements, will receive $4.8 million. It is expected that more than 1,200 student work placements will be made available to post-secondary students through this partnership.


"When Canadian students get on-the-job education, they're getting the experience they need to succeed. Our Innovation and Skills Plan is putting Canada's skilled, talented and creative people at the heart of a more innovative future economy." 
 – The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

"This program will help build stronger partnerships between government, post-secondary institutions and employers and will help young Canadians gain the experience they need to succeed in our modern, fast-paced economy."
– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism 

"We know that we have an IT labour shortage not only in the IT sector, but across all sectors that require digital skills for their business to innovate and grow. We need to equip young people with the right skill sets to succeed, and getting valuable work integrated learning experiences will make a real difference and will help them to kick start their career. ITAC applauds the Government of Canada's recognition of the importance to invest in student work placements"
–  Robert Watson, President and CEO, Information Technology Council of Ottawa

"Work-integrated learning is increasingly essential to help students gain the critical skills required to succeed in today's labour market. For companies, it's an opportunity to work with innovative students with a fresh perspective. We applaud the government for making this important investment to better integrate work and learning."
John Baker, CEO, D2L Corporation

Quick Facts

  • Work-integrated learning is a continuum of opportunities offered within the workplace such as internships, apprenticeships and cooperative placements (co-ops).
  • Student work placements help students acquire hands-on experience to build skills and connections that will help them get good jobs.
  • Students who participate in these opportunities are more likely to benefit from higher earnings and more employment opportunities, be employed in fields more closely related to their studies and develop technical and work-ready skills sought after by employers.
  • According to ITAC, more than 36,000 Canadian information and communications technology firms create and supply goods and services that contribute to a more productive, competitive, and innovative society. The information and communications technology sector generates over one million jobs directly and indirectly and invests $4.9 billion annually in research and development, more than any other private sector performer.

Associated Links

Student Work Placements

Information Technology Association of Canada


Student Work-Integrated Learning Program

The Student Work-Integrated Learning Program will provide post-secondary students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and business more quality student work placements and improved partnerships between employers and post-secondary education (PSE) institutions.

Agreements will be put in place with employer delivery partners, including recognized industry associations and organizations that represent the interests of businesses in key sectors in STEM and business.

These partners will be responsible for establishing partnerships with employers and PSE institutions and will provide eligible employers in STEM and business with wage subsidies for quality student work placements, up to 50 percent of the wage cost for the placement (up to a maximum of $5,000 per placement) and up to 70 percent (up to a maximum of $7,000 per placement) for first-year students and under-represented groups, such as women in STEM, Indigenous students, people with disabilities and newcomers.

Employers, including small and medium-sized enterprises and PSE institutions, will work together to help students become job-ready and develop the full complement of skills employers are seeking.


Budget 2017 announced $221 million over five years, starting in 2017–2018, to renew and expand funding for Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that has a goal of providing 10,000 research internships for post-secondary students and postdoctoral fellows each year.


SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: For media enquiries, please contact: Matt Pascuzzo, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P., Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour,, 819-654-4183; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559,, Follow us on Twitter

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