Canadian Government Details $73 Million STEM Co-op Funding

Canada has some of the the fastest growing tech markets in North America in terms of jobs created, and that growth will now be passed onto students as well.

The Government of Canada announced a new student work placements program on Monday that will see $73 million invested over the next four years, providing wage subsidies to eligible employers and creating 10,000 work placements over the period.

A new announcement today goes into more detail about how that money will be used. The ITAC will receive $4.8 million and continue to maintain their role as leaders in providing paid work-placement roles to post-secondary students in fields including AI and computer science. This money will allow close to 1000 students to participate in placements and offer advocacy, networking professional development services to thrive on both a national and global level.

“By facilitating stronger collaboration between employers and post-secondary educational institutions, the Government is helping Canadians get the skills, education and work experience they need to secure good jobs and build better lives for themselves,” the release reads.

The funding was announced at D2L in Kitchener/Waterloo during an event hosted by Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) and came from Bardish Chagger, the minister of small business and tourism on behalf of Patty Hajdu, the minister of employment, workforce development and labour.

“We are proud to work with organizations to help young people get a strong head start to succeed in today’s job market,” said Hajdu. “By investing in this initiative, we are helping the middle-class and those working hard to join it, build the brighter futures they deserve.”

This funding is designed to allow potential students to get more hands-on experience in high demand fields, particularly anything in STEM. This will align skills training with what is actually needed for the workplace.

Partners of the program, including employers and recognized industry associations, may receive up to 50 per cent of a student’s wage cost, up to $5,000. That number increases to 70 percent and $7,000 for first-year students and underrepresented groups including women in STEM, Indigenous students, personas with disabilities and newcomers.

This announcement comes as some students in STEM find that leaving the country for co-ops and work placements may prove more fruitful than staying in Canada. Recently, two University of Waterloo students penned a study that highlighted their graduating class was suffering from brain drain to the U.S. because of factors like lower pay and less job opportunities.