Backgrounder: COVID-19 measures for youth and students  


The Government of Canada’s recent COVID-19 measures for youth and students play an important role in supporting Canada’s economic recovery and future growth, providing young Canadians with the supports they need to stay in school and gain meaningful work experience for their long-term goals. That is why we are taking strong actions to ensure that young people and students continue to benefit from our programming. An additional breakdown on how Canada’s youth and students are already benefiting from these programs is featured below.

Youth Employment and Skills Strategy
The Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) is a horizontal Government of Canada initiative delivered in collaboration with 11 federal departments and agencies, including Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Through the YESS, the Government of Canada helps young people, particularly those facing barriers to employment, get the information and gain the skills, work experience and abilities they need to make a successful transition into the labour market.

Nine of the 11 federal departments and agencies that deliver YESS programs are providing opportunities and supports, such as mentorship, access to computers and access to mental health supports, all aimed at helping youth facing barriers to the labour market.

In the current COVID-19 context, projects delivered by ESDC’s YESS will focus on sectors that need an extra hand right now, as well as on sectors that support the delivery of essential services across Canada.

Organization: Project Learning Tree Canada
Title: PLT Canada’s Green Jobs Initiative (COVID-funded)
Description: Provide green job opportunities for youth and under-represented youth facing employment barriers to employment through skills development in the forest, conservation and parks sectors and to help foster interest and further education opportunities.
Region: All Canadian provinces and territories
Funding Amount: $7,787,000
Target Number of Participants: 1,200

Title: Actua@Home:  A COVID-relief program in support of student jobs and vulnerable youth
Description: Create a new for-credit internship program and a new for-credit leadership summit for Indigenous youth. Youth and under-represented youth will be provided with valuable skills-building opportunities via remote learning as well as relevant and meaningful work experience via subsidized employment.
Region: All Canadian provinces and territories
Funding Amount: $5,000,000
Target Number of Participants: 600

 Algonquin College
Title: COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative
Description: Algonquin College will provide a minimum of 200 Indigenous youth with training and development programs such as an accelerated Health Care Aide program and training in pandemic safety in the workplace (both integrated into a work skills series initiative).
Region: All Canadian provinces and territories
Funding Amount: $2,500,000
Target Number of Participants: 200

Organization: Canadian Mental Health Association
Title: At Work National Youth Service COVID Response
Description: Help youth who are homeless and/or living with mental illness to learn soft skills and leadership training through a series of workshops. Work placements will help bolster these skills with case management operations.
Region: Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island
Funding Amount: $702,591
Target Number of Participants: 90

 YWCA Halifax
Title: Launch Atlantic
Description: Enable young women to move from poverty and/or income assistance to economic independence through individualized support, career and personal development, work experience, and mentorship opportunities. Youth will have the required support to develop the nine essential employment skills, as well as soft skills development through community workshops and certification training.
Region: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador
Funding Amount: $1,000,000
Target Number of Participants: 116

Organization: MaRs
Title: Essential Youth
Description: Essential Youth is a youth employment project that builds digital infrastructure and scales supports in the youth employment sector to rebuild youths’ access to those entry-level jobs that lead to increased opportunity. The project builds on workforce development best practices, and leverages Opportunity for All Youth’s network of service providers, growing digital toolkit, and coalition of employers to deploy intake, interview preparation, hiring, outcome tracking, and follow-up at scale for those employers ready to hire.
Region: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia
Funding Amount: $1,000,000
Target Number of Participants: 600

Organization: AIDE – Actions Interculturelles
Title: Mon avenir, j’y travaille
Description: AIDE will provide a minimum of 200 opportunities for youth to gain work experience through which they will learn and develop essential skills that will help them secure a brighter and more prosperous future. The work opportunities will average 16 weeks, and will also include up to 10 additional mandatory skills development workshops. AIDE will also support employers in hiring and retaining a diversity of youth through their work experience and integration.
Region: Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta
Funding Amount: $3,000,000
Target Number of Participants: 200

Trucking HR Canada
Title: Driving Youth to Careers in Trucking and Logistics
Description: Train and integrate young Canadians currently experiencing barriers to employment into meaningful, well-paying and stable employment opportunities in the trucking and logistics sector by connecting youth to employers and providing wage subsidies as required in order for participants to obtain the necessary pre-employment training and licensing.
Region: All Canadian provinces and territories
Funding Amount: $1,853,737
Target Number of Participants: 80

Organization: Electricity Human Resources Canada
Title: Discovering Potential
Description: Secure full-time employment and/or training for youth participants in Canada’s electricity industry who are in need of assistance to overcome employment barriers. EHRC and organizational partners will provide professional and soft skills training to youth participants based on existing programs developed by the organization itself, and will also facilitate further technical training for youth with the broader network of employer, union and post-secondary education institution partners.
Region: All Canadian provinces and territories
**Will attempt to reach across all of Canada, but due to the lower number of participants, this may not be possible.
Funding Amount: $1,048,145
Target Number of Participants: 50

Organization: Simon Fraser University (Pivot 2020)
Title: Pivot 2020
Description: Provide employment and skills-building opportunities to young people affected by the COVID-19 crisis through the Pivot 2020 program, designed to enhance Canada’s economic and workforce recovery from the pandemic.
Region: Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan
Funding Amount: $11,614,407
Target Number of Participants: 1,488

Organization: REEL Canada
Title: Reel Opportunities
Description: Provide information and introductory training to under-represented youth about the Canadian film industry as a viable career path. These new positions will be in place to promote and facilitate the workshops and lend expertise to the creation of educational video content that will support the program and provide further information and training for participants. They will be drawn from the ranks of film industry professionals who are currently unemployed due to suspension of production during COVID-19.
Region: Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia
Funding Amount: $1,250,000
Target Number of Participants: 3,500

Organization: Colleges and Institutes Canada
Title: CICan ImpAct Internships
Description: Provide employment opportunities and skills-building supports to youth greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as financial and human resource supports to employers to increase community capacity and progress on Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals targets.
Region: All Canadian provinces and territories
Funding Amount: $1,000,000
Target Number of Participants: 100
Organization: NPower Canada
Title: Upskilling and Mentoring Vulnerable Youth for the Future of Work
Description: Provides coaching, wraparound supports and employment opportunities to low-income, diverse young Canadians enrolled in the NPower Canada Core Program and Advance Tech Upskilling Programs delivered in Toronto, Calgary and Halifax, and belonging to communities under-represented in the technology sector, including women, racialized groups, Indigenous and LGBTQ+ youth, new Canadians and youth with disabilities.
Region: Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia
Funding Amount: $855,000
Target Number of Participants: 1,800
*Regional coverage is not definitive and could be adjusted depending on the size and availability of youth cohorts. 

These projects are in addition to the approximately 114 national and regional projects from the 2019 call for proposals, which are now in place across Canada.

In addition, Quebec signed a contribution agreement through which the Government of Quebec will receive approximately $135 million over five years from ESDC’s YESS for projects that exclusively benefit youth in the province of Quebec. A call for proposals was launched by the Government of Quebec to identify projects to be supported through this and other provincial investments to support youth skills and employment.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit
For post-secondary students and recent graduates who are ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or for Employment Insurance, but who are unable to find full-time employment or are unable to work due to COVID-19, the Government has introduced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). This benefit provides income support to post-secondary students who experience financial hardship over the summer due to COVID-19. The CESB provides $1,250 per month for eligible students from May through August 2020, plus an additional $750 for students with dependents and those with permanent disabilities.

To date, the Government of Canada has distributed over $2.9 billion in CESB payments to over 700,000 post-secondary students. Of this amount, students with a disability and students with a dependant accounted for $631 million. 

Breakdown of CESB recipients by province/territory, as of August 26, 2020 (numbers are subject to change):

Alberta: 74,480
British Columbia: 82,300
Manitoba: 18,100
New Brunswick: 10,240
Newfoundland and Labrador: 10,000
Northwest Territories: 580
Nova Scotia: 15,770
Nunavut: 380
Ontario: 327,180
Prince Edward Island: 1,750
Quebec: 137,240
Saskatchewan: 18,160
Yukon: 380
Out of country: 750

Canada Summer Jobs 2020
The Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program provides opportunities for all youth between the ages of 15 and 30 to develop and improve their skills within the not-for-profit, small business and public sectors. The program is also responsive to national and local priorities to improve access to the labour market for youth.

In response to COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada announced temporary changes to the CSJ program in April 2020 to better support job creation for youth. These temporary changes include:

  • an increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee;
  • allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support the delivery of essential services;
  • an extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021; and
  • allowing employers to hire youth on a part-time basis.

The list of employers approved for funding are available on the Canada Summer Jobs 2020: Employers that have been approved for funding web page. 

Breakdown of approved CSJ jobs by region, as of August 14, 2020 (numbers are subject to change):

Alberta: 8,910
British Columbia: 8,295
Manitoba: 3,215
New Brunswick: 2,925
Newfoundland and Labrador: 2,985
Northwest Territories: 138
Nova Scotia: 3,100
Nunavut: 71
Ontario: 34,267
Prince Edward Island: 559
Quebec: 16,988
Saskatchewan: 3,035
Yukon: 121

Student Work Placement (SWP) Program
The SWP Program supports partnerships between industry and post-secondary education (PSE) institutions, to create quality work integrated learning opportunities for PSE students related to their interests and field of study. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, two temporary measures were introduced, which will be in effect until March 31, 2021, including:

  • An increase of the wage subsidy to cover up to 75% of the cost of wages across all work-integrated learning placements, up to a maximum of $7,500 per placement.
  • Waiving the net new requirement, which required that employers do more placements than in previous years to access SWP funding.

New SWP projects include:

Organization: Biotalent Canada*
Description: This project is supporting placement opportunities for students from a variety of disciplines looking to work in the biotechnology sector. The project is also creating 1,500 new placement opportunities in the health care sector, for students from colleges and universities.
Funding Amount: $16,607,000
Target Number of Participants: 3,100

Organization: Canadian Council for Aerospace and Aviation
Description: This project is supporting placement opportunities for students from a variety of disciplines looking to work in the aviation and aerospace sector.
Funding Amount: $560,000
Target Number of Participants: 422

Organization: ECO Canada
Description: This project is supporting placement opportunities for students from a variety of disciplines looking to work in the environmental sector.
Funding Amount: $8,975,500
Target Number of Participants: 2,250

Organization: Electricity Human Resources Canada
Description: This project is supporting placement opportunities for students from a variety of disciplines looking to work in the electricity sector.
Funding Amount: $2,463,250
Target Number of Participants: 1,033

Organization: Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium
Description: This project is supporting placement opportunities for students from a variety of disciplines looking to work in the manufacturing sector.
Funding Amount: $510,000
Target Number of Participants: 320

Organization: Information and Communication Technology Council
Description: This project is supporting placement opportunities for students from a variety of disciplines looking to work in the information and communications technology sector.
Funding Amount: $15,777,500
Target Number of Participants: 4,954

Description: This project is supporting placement opportunities for students from a variety of disciplines looking to work in any sector of the economy, and creating 3,000 new placement opportunities in health care and other high demand sectors.
Funding Amount: $171,000,000
Target Number of Participants: 19,000

Organization: Mining Industry Human Resources Council
Description: This project is supporting placement opportunities for students from a variety of disciplines looking to work in the mining sector.
Funding Amount: $2,806,750
Target Number of Participants: 502

Organization: Ontario Chamber of Commerce
Description: This project is supporting placement opportunities for students from a variety of disciplines looking to work in a variety of sectors. This project is pan-Canadian in scope, as it is being delivered in conjunction with the Alberta Chamber of Commerce and the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec. Additional partners include the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and other regional chambers (e.g. Yukon and Atlantic) that are involved in promoting the program in all regions of Canada. 
Funding Amount: $10,859,000
Target Number of Participants: 1,742

Organization: Technation*
Description: This project is supporting placement opportunities for students from a variety of disciplines looking to work in the information and communications technology sector, and creating 500 new placement opportunities in other high demand sectors, for students in all disciplines.
Funding Amount: $32,221,000
Target Number of Participants: 6,965

Organization: Venture for Canada*
Description: This project is supporting placement opportunities for students from a variety of disciplines in entrepreneurship with innovative small and medium-sized enterprises.
Funding Amount: $3,646,000
Target Number of Participants: 978
* Region: Venture for Canada is focused in the Atlantic Region and is expanding their scope to other provinces. All other SWP projects are national in scope and expect to reach students across Canada.

* The funding totals indicated above for Biotalent Canada, Magnet and Technation include both an increased wage subsidy for existing placements, and funding for the creation of 5,000 new placement opportunities in health care and other high demand sectors, which is why their funding ratios seem higher. All providers are offering the same level of wage subsidy funding to employers and are held to a maximum 10% administration fee. Amounts listed above for other organizations represent exclusively the funding balance to cover the increased wage subsidy of previously funded placements.

For reference, the Program introduced an increased wage subsidy to cover up to 75% (up to a maximum of $7,500) of the cost of wages for all placements in 2020–21 to assist employers in continuing to offer placements during the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically, the program offers wage subsidies of up to 50% for regular placements, and up to 70% for placements targeting under-represented youth. 

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