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

September 5, 2017       Vancouver, British Columbia           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 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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Associated Links


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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