Student Work Placement Program - SWPP

The Student Work Placement program gives post-secondary students in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and business programs across Canada paid work experience related to their field of study.

Over 11,500 paid student work placements will be created by this program through 2021.

ESDC works with Employer Delivery Partners. Employer Delivery Partners are a group of recognized associations and organizations that represent the interests of employers in industries.

They work with businesses and post-secondary education institutions to:

  • Provide wage subsidies to employers that offer quality student work placements; and
  • Create partnerships with colleges, universities, polytechnics and CEGEPs to recruit students for these placements.

The Government of Canada is moving forward with implementation of the expansion of the Student Work Placement Program. As of fall 2019, wage subsidies for employers are expected to be available for work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students in STEM, business, as well as other disciplines in selected sectors of the Canadian economy.  For more information on how to participate, please consult the Program’s webpage.

Note that while CEWIL Canada promotes the SWPP, we are not involved in its administration and do not distribute SWPP funding. If you have a specific question about the SWPP, please refer to the contact sheet below.

For an overview of the SWPP partners, application processes, and contacts, see here

SWPP Partners - Upcoming Webinars

We do not have any webinars scheduled at this time. 

ESDC 2019 Webinar:

ESDC hosted a webinar on October 10, 2019 from 12:00 - 1:00 PM ET. Sarah Plouffe, Director, Student Work Placement Program (SWPP), ESDC, provided an update on SWPP, which included some results from the first two years of the program, as well as an overview of the Budget 2019 announcements related to work-integrated learning including the expansion of the SWP program. A Q&A session then followed the presentation.

For those who could not attend the recording has been made available, as well as the slide decks below. 

Click here to view the English presentation slides.

Click here to view the French presentation slides. 

ESDC 2017 Webinar:

ESDC hosted a webinar on Monday, September 18 from 1:00 - 2:00 PM EDT. For those who could not attend, the recording can be viewed below. 

Click here to view the presentation slides 

Click here to view the french presentation slides

Click here to view FAQs around the SWPP

Contact information for ESDC:

Sarah Plouffe
Student Work Integrated Learning Program
Skills & Employment Branch/ Direction générale des compétences et de l'emploi
Employment & Social Development Canada/Emploi et Développement social Canada
tel: (819) 654-3002

SWPP Partners


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

What is the Student Work Placement Program?

Student Work Placement 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 is considered a student work placement?

Student work placement activities can include, but is not limited to:

  • mentorship programs;
  • co-op placements;
  • practicums;
  • applied research projects; and

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 the Student Work Placement Program 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 Student Work Placement Program 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 Student Work Placement Program?

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 Student Work Placement Program. 

Eligibility Questions

Who is eligible to take part in the program?

The wage subsidy is applicable to placements for Canadian students registered in a a Canadian publicly funded post-secondary institution.  Additional student eligibility requirements may exist – please check the SWPP partner’s student eligibility criteria for more details. 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 Student Work Placement Program?

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 ( 

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? 

Program eligibility may vary by SWPP partner.  Please check with the SWPP partner for specific eligibility requirements.  Some SWPP partners are able to provide subsidies for a much wider range of programs.

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

For the purposes of Student Work Placement Program 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 Student Work Placement Program?

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 Student Work Placement Program?

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 Student Work Placement Program 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 – CEWIL Canada will work with Student Work Placement Program 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 Student Work Placement Program, please contact

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 Student Work Placement Program wage subsidy with provincial tax credits?

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

What are next steps in the process?

CEWIL Canada members can look to partner with Student Work Placement Program participants to provide placements to PSE students or to partner on new initiatives.

Information about Student Work Placement Program participants can be found: