Government of Canada announces renewed funding to create more work placement opportunities for Canadian post-secondary students

News release

Investment to support initiatives that provide on-the-job learning opportunities to Canadian students

September 29, 2022 – Toronto, Ontario 

Canadian workers are among the most educated in the world; however, employers look for post-secondary graduates who have work-ready skills and are able to transition into the Canadian labour market immediately. Work-integrated learning (WIL) programs help bridge the gap between post-secondary students and employers by enabling crucial skills development and facilitating entry into the labour market.

The Government of Canada continues to look for more opportunities to jump-start Canada’s labour market and support innovation and growth. That is why the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, today announced renewed funding for the Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) program.

The $17.1 million investment over the next 3 years will enable the creation and scaling of over 22,300 WIL opportunities for students across Canada. BHER will leverage its renewed program funding and existing partnerships in focus areas aimed at under-represented groups, giving them the resources and tools needed to obtain crucial work-ready skills. BHER will also focus on developing partnerships to support skills and talent development needed for a transition to a net-zero economy.

The WIL programs provided through BHER will build on existing skills with on-the-job placements. These placements help students get a sense of workplace culture, experience the true industry environment, enhance their soft skills and technical skills, and build professional networks.

As part of the renewed mandate, BHER will continue to develop innovative tools and resources that will be added to its free-to-use WIL Hub to help employers explore, invest in and create quality work-integrated learning opportunities.


Our government knows how important it is to continue supporting organizations that are leaders in the growth and development of Canada’s next generation of working professionals. The Business + Higher Education Roundtable and its partners are paving the way in providing post-secondary students with the diverse, quality work opportunities needed to meet the skills needs of Canada’s world-class workforce. Our government is proud to be a part of this continued success, and I cannot wait to see the positive impacts this will make on Canadian organizations and students.
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

We are incredibly grateful to the Government of Canada for renewing its investment in BHER and for doubling down on our shared commitment to preparing post-secondary students for the world of work. Reinvesting in BHER means working together to build capacity for WIL in Canada and strengthening collaboration in the WIL ecosystem, while making WIL more inclusive and diverse so more students gain the skills employers are looking for and more employers find the talent they need.”
– Dr. Valerie Walker, Chief Executive Officer, Business + Higher Education Roundtable

To reach our country’s net-zero goals, we’ll need an historic shift across our economy and society, and unprecedented levels of collaboration between the public and private sectors. A talent and skills strategy will be at the heart of our transition, which is why creating work-integrated learning opportunities for every student in Canada is critically important. This commitment is another step to help us get there.
– Dave McKay, President and CEO, RBC & Chair of BHER’s Board of Directors

Quick facts

  • The Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) is a not-for-profit organization bringing together some of Canada’s largest companies and leading post-secondary institutions. 

  • BHER has worked to harness the strengths of Canada’s business and post-secondary education sectors to build opportunities for young Canadians all across Canada. 

  • BHER was first launched in 2015, and has supported nearly 40,000 WIL opportunities for students across Canada in the past. 

  • Students who participate in WIL 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.

  • The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that every young Canadian who wants a Work-integrated Learning opportunity gets one. 

Associated links


Laurie Bouchard
Senior Manager, Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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