Government of Canada launches student work placements

Helping 60,000 post-secondary students get important work-ready skills over the next five years

EDMONTON, Aug. 30, 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 Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, 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 Sohi made the announcement at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, at an event hosted by Pinchin Ltd. and  the Environmental Careers Organization of Canada (ECO Canada), one of several industry partners working with the Government of Canada. ECO Canada, a national organization that, for over 20 years, has studied the environmental labour market and examined ways to improve access for new graduates and individuals entering mid-career in the environmental sector, will receive $5 million. It is expected that more than 1,000 student work placements will be created for 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

"More students across the country will have paid work experience thanks to these new Student Work Placements. By giving young Canadians the skills and experience they need to succeed, we can grow the middle class and strengthen our economy."
– The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

"We are very dedicated to helping post-secondary co-op coordinators develop relationships with environmental employers. ECO has strong connections within the industry. Introducing employers to universities is a key goal and, in economic times like these, many companies are tightening up their co-op budgets. We are pleased that ECO will have access to wage subsidies which will help to ensure the high qualities of positions are maintained."
Jennifer Neuman, Senior Program Manager, Environmental Careers Organization of Canada

"Pinchin is pleased to support the federal government in providing more students with opportunities to build careers. We believe in attracting talented individuals to our organization and we invest heavily in programs that foster the growth and advancement of our employees. Our student work placement and co-op programs provide opportunities for workers to develop their knowledge and abilities as they prepare to enter to the workforce. The enthusiasm and innovation they contribute is evidence of the value they bring to our organization."
Jeff Grossi, Chief Executive Officer, Pinchin Ltd.

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 ECO Canada, over 1.8 million workers in Canada spend some portion of their time on environmental activities, representing 10 percent of the total Canadian workforce.

Associated Links

Student work placements
Environmental Careers Organization of Canada (ECO 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.

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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,

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