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Co-op Program Directory

The Co-operative Education Directory is a comprehensive listing of the post-secondary co-operative education programs of member institutions in Canada.

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Student Work-Integrated Learning Program

Please note that the following FAQs represent CAFCE’s best understanding of the Student Work Integrated Learning Program and its facets. Each industry partner should be contacted for confirmation of specifics. If you have concerns or recommendations about any SWILP program, please connect with the specific CAFCE contacts for that SWILP partner or reach out to cafce@cafce.ca. Revisions and updates will be made to this page as we learn more about the specifics of each program.

PDF version of FAQs.

CAFCE Contacts:

Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace: Elaine Fenner (elaine.fenner@senecacollege.ca), Lucie Gendron (Lucie.Gendron@uOttawa.ca)

BioTalent Canada: Norah McRae (nmcrae@uvic.ca), Lucie Gendron (Lucie.Gendron@uOttawa.ca), Kirk Patterson (pkpatterson@uwaterloo.ca), David Hall (halld2@algonquincollege.com)

ECO Canada: Ross Johnston (rossjohn@uwaterloo.ca), Norah McRae (nmcrae@uvic.ca

ICTC: Anne Fannon (amfannon@uwaterloo.ca), Julie Walchli (julie.walchli@ubc.ca

ITAC: Shauna Tonsaker (tonsaker@sfu.ca), Kitty Runstedler (krunstedler@conestogac.on.ca

Program Overview Questions

What is the SWILP?

SWILP, short for Student Work-Integrated Learning Program, uses an employer consortia in order to create and deliver work-learning opportunities for students in high demand industries such as science and technology, engineering, mathematics, and business.

How many placements will the program create for students?

The program aims to create about 10,000 quality placements in the next 4 years.

What sectors have been targeted so far?

Five employer consortia have been prioritized so far, based on the labour shortage and a demonstrated gap between current curricula and industry skill requirements:

  1. Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)
  2. Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC)
  3. Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace (CCAA)
  4. Environmental Careers Organization of Canada (ECO Canada)
  5. Biotalent Canada

The different delivery partners have specific details about how their projects will be carried out and who their primary industry partners are. There has been an attempt to start with about a 1,000 placements for each sector.

What does “new placements”mean?

Employers will be provided subsidies for any additional student placements, not for the same number of placements as in the previous year or semester.

What is ESDC’s definition of Work-Integrated Learning?

In developing the program, ESDC relied heavily on HEQCO’s (Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario) definition of WIL. This includes Apprenticeships, Field Experience, Mandatory Professional Practice, Co-op, Internships, Applied Research Projects and Service Learning. Please see the ESDC webinar for additional information.

How many streams of activities are there for SWILP and how do they work?

There are two streams that go hand in hand in order to help bridge the gap in skill sets for future graudates:

Activity Stream 1: Create new co-op placements and other Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities. Baseline statistics would be established for WIL placements.

Activity Stream 2: Develop partnerships for sustainable WIL between industry partners and PSE instituions, so as to develop new approaches to integrate students in the workplace. Students would also be provided with the opportunity to contribute to the development of new WIL opportunities.

Is there an expectation that SWILP wage subsidies and partnerships occur across the country?

ESDC expects its partners to work with the broadest spectrum of PSE institutions as possible. This expectation has been written into the formal agreements.

What is the minimum length of a placement for it to count for SWILP?

The wage subsidy is based on a standard 16 week placement but there is not a fixed number of hours or weeks for the program. It is up to the employer, industry partner, and school to determine the minimum criteria to qualify for the wage subsidy. Some industry associations have developed minimum time periods for their SWILP programs. 

Eligibility Questions

Who is eligible to take part in the program?

The wage subsisdy is applicable to placements for Canadian students registered in STEM and business programs with a required WIL component in their post-secondary program. There is an enhanced wage subsidy for placements for underrepresented groups such as women in STEM, aboriginal students, disabled students, and newcomers to Canada.

What are the wage subsidies?

Wage subsidy of 50% (up to $5000) per new placement, and 70% (up to $7000) for under-represented groups and first-year students.

Is there an age eligibility criteria for SWILP?

No. The program is open to Canadian students regardless of age. 

Are international students eligible?

No, the program currently applies only to students of Canadian citizenship, permanent residency status or refugee status in the country. International students with work visas do not currently qualify for the program.

What is the definition of a newcomer for the purposes of the enhanced wage subsidy?

ESDC uses Statistics Canada’s definition of newcomers which is 5 years in the country or less. As per the StatsCan website: recent Recent immigrants (also known as newcomers) refers to landed immigrants who came to Canada up to five years prior to a given census year (http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2006/as-sa/97-562/note-eng.cfm). 

Is the program limited to students in STEM and Business programs? Would students registered in humanities or social science programs working in STEM or business based roles qualify? 

At this point in time, the program is limited to students enrolled in STEM + Business programs at post-secondary institutions.

What is the defintion of a woman in STEM for the purposes of the enhanced wage subsidy?

For the purposes of SWILP and the enhanced wage subsity, a woman in STEM is defined as a person who identifies a female who is registered in a STEM program at a post-secondary institution. Women registered in business programs do not qualify for the enhanced wage subsidy.

Do students have to be returning to studies after the placement?

No, they just have to be registered in a STEM or Business program while applying to placements. The placement can even take place in their final semester.

If a student’s first placement begins after their first year of studies, do they still qualify for subsidies for first-year students?

No, the program is applicable to students in their first academic year, so they have to begin work in their first year. This could occur at any time during the first full year of studies including the summer after first year.  The enhanced wage subsidy does not apply to first work term students unless they are in their first year of studies.

How far in advance can companies apply for SWILP?

Employers should get in touch with their respective delivery partner as early as possible since there is widespread interest in the program. Specific timelines can be provided by the delivery partner.

How can PSEs support SWILP?

What information are PSEs expected to provide industry partners to confirm enrolment in a work-integrated learning program?

It is currently up to the industry partner to vet eligibility for the SWILP wage subsidy thus the industry partner determines what information the school is expected to provide. The federal government is not collecting personal level data on anyone enrolled in the program. Most likely the industry associations will be seeking information on the following:

  1. Registered student in a recognized PSE program
  2. Within the program, there is a requirement for work-integrated learning
  3. Whether or not the student is in their first year of studies

*NB – CAFCE will work with SWILP partners to highlight the standard components of a co-op program and work to streamline these processes in the future.

Are PSE institutions expected to pay any fees to take part in this program?

PSEs are not expected to pay any fees to take part in the program. If you have concerns about fees associated with SWILP, please contact cafce@cafce.ca

Employer Process Questions

What is the process for an employer to access the wage subsidy?

Each industry association has specific processes for employers to access the wage subsidy but, generally speaking, the employer should connect with the industry association and seek approval for the position itself. From there, the employer can move to recruit for the position. Approval of the wage subsidy should always be secured before the recruit happens.

What employers are eligible?

Each industry association has specific criteria for the types of roles and industries that are eligible for the program. Please see each industry association’s webinar or website for additional information. Generally speaking, it is the role + the student’s eligibility that are most important.  The job must relate to the industry sector and the student must be an eligible student registered in a STEM or business program. 

How are “new” placements counted?

In order to be eligible for the wage subsidy, employers must demonstrate that they are hiring one or more new or additional students than in previous years. Only incremental hires are eligible.

Can employers “stack” the SWILP wage subsidy with provincial tax credits?

To the best of our knowledge, employers can take advantage of both the SWILP wage subsidy and provincial tax credits. The SWILP wage subsidy cannot be combined with any other federal funding initiatives. 

What are next steps in the process?

CAFCE members can look to partner with SWILP participants to provide placements to PSE students or to partner on new initiatives.

Information about SWILP participants can be found:

  1. Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)
  2. Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC)
  3. Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace (CCAA)
  4. Environmental Careers Organization of Canada (ECO Canada)
  5. Biotalent Canada