Government of Canada launches student work placements

News Release

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

 August 28, 2017           Toronto, Ontario                    Employment and Social Development Canada                                                            

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 Synaptive Medical during an event hosted by BioTalent Canada, one of several industry partners working with the Government of Canada. BioTalent Canada, a national non-profit organization, is the human resources partner of Canada’s bio-economy and focuses on building partnerships and skills for Canada’s bio-economy to ensure the industry has access to job-ready people. BioTalent, which has taken a leadership role in providing student work placements, will receive close to $5.6 million. It is expected that more than 1,000 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

“Giving students the opportunity to get hands-on experience while finishing their studies will strengthen Canada’s bio-economy by bridging the gap between industry and academia.”

– Rob Henderson, President and CEO, BioTalent Canada

“Synaptive Medical has recruited students from a range of co-op programs. These students bring energy and enthusiasm to project teams, ranging from software and mechanical engineering through to marketing and finance, and some have joined us as full-time employees. We are pleased that the Government is supporting the Student Work-Integrated Learning Program and allowing us to hire more bright young talent to augment and complement departments across the company.”

– Cameron Piron, Co-founder and President, Synaptive Medical

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 BioTalent Canada, 33 percent of companies in the biotechnology sector report skills shortages. Forty percent of these companies indicated that these shortages will have an impact on them, regardless of their company size.

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Matt Pascuzzo
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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