Government of Canada creates 505 paid work placements for students with entrepreneurial businesses in the Atlantic provinces

News release

April 11, 2018   Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island   Employment and Social Development Canada

When post-secondary students get the chance to learn in a hands-on work environment, they build the real-word skills and connections that help them get great jobs when they graduate. That’s why the Student Work Placements Program is such a critical part of the Government’s plan to put Canada’s greatest strength—its skilled, hard-working people—at the heart of a more innovative future economy. 

Sean Casey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Member of Parliament for Charlottetown, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, today announced that the Government of Canada will provide over $4.4 million to Venture for Canada for the Providing Work-Integrated Learning Opportunities for Students at Innovative Atlantic SMEs project, which will help 505 students in the business and entrepreneurial fields develop important skills and gain valuable workplace experience in the Atlantic region. 

The Government of Canada is rolling out a $73 million Student Work Placements Program to create over 10,000 paid student work placements in STEM and business fields over the next four years and to facilitate stronger partnerships between employers and partnering polytechnics, universities and colleges. This is in addition to funding provided to Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that provides research internships with a goal of creating 10,000 work placements per year. With these combined investments, over 60,000 post-secondary students will have paid work placements over the next five years.

Mr. Casey made the announcement at Startup Zone in Charlottetown, together with Venture for Canada. Venture for Canada, a not-for-profit organization, fosters entrepreneurship by supporting recent graduates to work at Canadian start-ups and equips them with the skills, network and experience necessary to launch their own firms.


“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

“Our government is committed to helping post-secondary students acquire the on-the-job experience that is so important in today’s labour market. This is part of our goal of ensuring that every Canadian has a real and fair chance to work, contribute to our economy and succeed.

– Sean Casey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

“Through the Government of Canada’s support, Venture for Canada will provide Atlantic Canadian post-secondary students with the work integrated learning opportunities needed to learn skills, gain work experience, share knowledge and build resilience, all the while contributing to the growth of innovative small and medium sized enterprises in the region.

– Scott Stirrett, Founder and CEO of Venture for Canada

Quick facts

  • According to a Lazaridis Institute survey of 100 of Canada’s leading startup industry stakeholders, insufficient talent was identified as the number one impediment (53 percent of responses) to Canadian startups scaling up.

  • Budget 2018 announced $8 million to support the creation of up to 1,000 student work placements in the field of cyber security, as part of the National Cyber Security Strategy.

  • Under the Student Work Placements Program, the Government also announced $1 million per year to create up to 500 new placements over 3 years for students in STEM in the field of artificial intelligence.

  • Work placements are a continuum of opportunities offered within the workplace including internships, practicums and cooperative placements (co-ops).

  • 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.

Associated links


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

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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