Government of Canada launches student work placements

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

VANCOUVER, Sept. 5, 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 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 Hajdu made the announcement at SAP Labs Canada during an event hosted by the Information and Communications Technology Council of Canada (ICTC), one of several industry partners working with the Government of Canada. ICTC, a not-for-profit national centre of expertise for the digital economy and helps to foster innovative and globally competitive Canadian industries, will receive $4.5 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

"We are delighted to launch this program in collaboration with industry and academic partners from across Canada. This program, entitled "the WIL to succeed in tomorrow's digital economy—Innovation-ready grads," is a significant milestone in addressing skills and labour shortages while strengthening Canada's digital advantage in a global economy."
–  Namir Anani, President and CEO, Information and Communications Technology Council of Canada Inc.

"We are proud of our robust student internship and co-op program. We hire more than 200 interns every year into our four lab locations and these students are key drivers of our success. We believe that building cross-generational teams, where young talent works alongside seasoned professionals, brings a diversity of thought that strengthens our innovation process. We are encouraged by the opportunity for the Student Work-Integrated Learning Program to offer this type of crucial hands-on experience to prepare Canadian youth for a lifetime of employment in the digital economy."
Kirsten Sutton, Managing Director, SAP Labs Canada

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 the ICTC, there will be an acute digital talent shortage in Canada of around 216,000 vacancies by the year 2021, and digital jobs growth will outpace the overall economy by more than 4 to 1.

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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,

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