Did you know there are more than two dozen employment grants in Ontario - grants for hiring students, apprentices, interns, and more?
Yes, there is financial support out there to help build your team!
Some programs are Canada-wide, and some are Ontario-focused. There are grants, wage subsidies, and tax credits or refunds on offer, so take a gander through and see which incentives work for you!
Employment Incentives Available Across Canada
The Canadian government—however we feel about them in any given year!—has a wide variety of incentive programs available in many sectors to help you bring that right person on board. Whether your company operates in the creative sphere or has cut a swathe in technology, there’s something for almost everyone.
New Federal Employment Incentives for 2021
Federal Employment Grants
This is just one of a few financial incentives offered by Employment and Social Development Canada to help you grow your team and offer an opportunity to a student.
This one will give you up to $5,000 for every student you hire through this program, and up to $7,000 for every first-year student, woman in STEM, those with disabilities, newcomers, or Indigenous students.
To qualify to be an intern with your organization, the candidate must study in a postsecondary business or STEM program that includes work placements; be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or refugee; and be legally able to work in Canada. That’s all!
Any organization can apply to hire an intern, and application deadlines are ongoing. So to apply, visit their website or shoot them an email:
This nationwide youth employment incentive program helps incorporated SMEs in every sector offer jobs with research and development, engineering, multimedia, or market analysis components to young workers aged 15 to 30. The intent is to create jobs and give young workers valuable skills and experience with a focus on developing new products or processes.
Your company could get up to 75%, up to $30,000 to cover your new employee’s wages, though this is a cost-sharing program, so you are responsible for all additional costs.
All you have to do to apply is call the National Research Council Canada at 1-877-994-4727, and let them know who you are, what you do, what your plan is, why you’d like to hire a graduate, and what the job would include (some topics could include a business description, objectives, and innovation plans). Then they’ll determine if you’re eligible to apply.
If you’re eligible, you’ll have a chance to talk with one of their industrial technology advisors about such things as strategy, issues, opportunities for growth, and future plans. Then all you have to do is put together a project proposal and find a spectacular youth candidate.
Your chosen candidate needs to be between 15 and 30 at the start of the internship; be a postsecondary graduate and a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or refugee; be legally able to work in Canada; and be a first-time participant in a Youth Employment Strategy work experience program for graduates.
A word to the wise: your focus should be on Canadian college and university graduates with a technical/STEM background.
Visit their webpage or call the number above to learn more.
Canada is filled with talent. We’ve proven it time and again, and the Canadian government recognizes the importance of ensuring we can compete with other talent on the world stage. Our writers—and our stories—deserve to be heard, read, and acknowledged.
At the same time, publishing in Canada is expensive. While it’s that way in some other countries too, Canada wants to ease that pain and help publishers market and produce Canadian content. Since the best way to learn anything is on the job, the Canada Book Fund created the Support for Publishers grant, which offers grants to publishers to use for internships and business planning.
You could receive up to 50% of your eligible expenses or $15,000 to hire an intern if you qualify for the grant. And the program may also give you up to 75% of your eligible expenses or $22,500 if you hire an Indigenous, visible minority, or disabled intern. Because there is a technological category to this grant, you could even qualify to receive funding to hire a digitally proficient intern if you’ve already received funding from the main grant: the Publishing Internship Grant. You could also receive funding for business planning if you’ve already gotten funding from the Publishing Support program or the Canada Council for the Arts' Supporting Artistic Practice, Literary Publishers program.
To qualify for this grant, you should be an individual publishing firm whose sales total less than $1 million who has already received funding from the CBF's Support for Publishers component in 2019-2020. Alternatively, you can still qualify if your firm, of the same size and sales, received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts' Supporting Artistic Practice, Literary Publishers program.
The application deadline is January 31, 2020, for projects starting between April 1 and August 31. Be aware, your application must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern time! To apply, simply complete the application form, along with a detailed description of your project, and submit the application form along with your organization’s most recent audited financial statements online after creating a My Canadian Heritage account.
For more information, send them an email or call 819-997-0055 or 1-866-811-0055 (toll-free).
Take a look at this two-option grant if you were thinking of hiring an apprentice in any sector. This grant could cover up to $2,000 per apprentice hired through the Apprenticeship Completion Grant (ACG) and $3,000 through the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women (AIG-W) program.
The ACG grant is intended to cover the wage of anyone you hire who has completed their apprenticeship training and gotten their journeyperson certification in a designated Red Seal trade. This grant is only given out once per apprentice and is taxable. The AIG-W grant will compensate you for hiring a female apprentice who has also completed their training and received their certification in an underrepresented trade. On the flip side, this grant can be paid out twice per apprentice and is also taxable.
Any organization or business of any sort—non-profit, for-profit, etc.—can apply for these grants. Apprentices can even apply for it while still in school, but there are quite a few requirements, especially for the AIG-W, so check out ACG and ACG-W to learn more.
Deadlines to apply for both always fall 12 months after graduation. And again, remember, always make sure you gather any possible supporting documents before you apply, such as proof of certification. Once you’ve done that, apply online for the ACG or the ACG-W. There you’ll also find a list of documents you may need for your application, by province, that you’ll need to submit by mail to an Apprenticeship Grant Processing Centre or in person at any Service Canada Centre.
Federal Employment Subsidies
This on-the-job training and work experience program focuses on offering First Nations and Inuit youth between 15 and 30 years old job experience in the housing sector.
Prospective trainees need only be First Nations or Inuit youth; they don’t need to live in an Indigenous community. However, the catch is trainees cannot work another job at the same time as this one, and they cannot be receiving EI benefits. If the trainee was receiving benefits when they were hired, they’ll need to stop them before being accepted into the program.
The program offers subsidies that can be used for a variety of positions such as construction or office roles and covers the trainee’s vacation pay, Employment Insurance, pension plan, and workers’ compensation premiums. However, the sponsoring organization should be prepared to pay the trainee at least minimum wage.
To become a sponsoring organization, you only have to meet the following 5 requirements:
- 1be a First Nations organization
- 2have the time and staff to offer on-the-job training
- 3have an office in a First Nation or Inuit community (or close by)
- 4cover the intern’s travel and housing costs (if you’re far from the community)
- 5cover all administrative costs related to the position (like safety equipment)
To apply or learn more about the program, just contact a First Nation Housing Specialist. There is no deadline for applications or funding.
BioTalent Canada: Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) and Science Horizons Youth Internship Program
Though more and more opportunities open up in technology every year, it can still be a struggle to not only grow your business, but to hire the most skilled students with the most potential. If this sounds like your dilemma and you operate a business in biotechnology, these programs are for you.
To get in on this program and start hiring qualified candidates, you must be a Canadian company offering a workplace educational opportunity for a STEM or business student.
The role must be a full-time position and include federal and provincial tax deductions. In other words, you must be offering a full-time, paid position.
There are rules about your potential intern as well. They must be currently attending a postsecondary institution, either full- or part-time; be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or refugee; and be legally allowed to work in Canada. Of course, your potential intern should also be studying a related field, such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), business, and/ or any other program BioTalent Canada finds is relevant.
Applying for this one is tricky but certainly worth it. Both you and your potential intern have to apply and ensure you include all the required documents. This is always important, so double-check to make sure you haven’t missed any.
The intern you’ve chosen must complete the Participant Information Form, making sure to include a resume and a copy of their proof of post-secondary enrollment. They’ll also have to complete a Co-op Agreement Form with the assistance of their school.
As the applicant for the subsidy, you’ll have to complete an Employer Application Form, a Student Work Placement Program’s Co-op Agreement Form, a brief company description, a description of the intern’s role, direct deposit banking application, and a formal learning plan and submit them all to Jennifer Ash at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF BioTalent Canada accepts your application, you and the intern will both need to sign a contract, and again, they ask for more documents, so keep everything up to date and handy!
Once you’ve jumped through the hoops and qualified for the program, you can expect to receive up to 50% of the intern’s salary to a maximum of $5,000 and 70% up to a maximum of $7,000 for first-year students and under-represented groups (women in STEM programs, Indigenous students, those with disabilities, or newcomers to Canada).
This program will help you hire a talented graduate to work in your science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) business, but their job must be linked to the green economy.
The steps to apply are much like the above program. You, as the applicant, will have to download the appropriate forms (Participant Application Form, Employer Application Form) and submit them via email to email@example.com along with a brief company description, a job description, the intern’s résumé, a copy of their degree/diploma or certificate, and a learning plan.
Again, if your application is accepted, both you and the intern will have to sign a contract and may be expected to provide additional documents.
To qualify for this wage subsidy program, you can be an individual and hiring your first intern; nonprofit or for-profit (small- or medium-sized), a provincial/territorial, municipal, or local government; an institution, agency, or Crown corporation, or an organization such as Indigenous organizations (including band councils/tribal councils) or local organizations.
All you need to do to qualify, after choosing your intern, is complete all your documents and submit them. But ensure the full-time internship position lasts at least 6-12 months, is in an environmental STEM field linked to the green economy, and you have a process for supervising and mentoring an intern.
Of course, as with the other BioTalent program, there are certain restrictions around who qualifies. Not only must your chosen intern have graduated from a science, technology, engineering, or math program in the last 3 years, be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or refugee, and be legally allowed to work in Canada, but they must also be younger than 30 at the time of hire.
And while this program could give you as much as $15,000 to help with the candidate’s wages, you should be prepared to contribute at least 50% of the total cost without funding from another program.
Applications are being accepted until March 2021, so don’t miss out on the chance to hire a rising star for less cost.
For more information, you can call Benita at 1-866-243-2472, ext. 234; Colleen at ext. 221; or Hannah at ext. 215; or you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (Benita), email@example.com (Colleen), or firstname.lastname@example.org (Hannah).
There are two categories of internships for this program: The Clean Leadership Professional and Clean Leadership Summer Internships.
Funding for Professional Internships covers up to 70% of an intern’s salary, to no more than $15,000, and potential interns must be recent STEM graduates with an environmental focus. They must also be younger than 30; not receiving EI benefits; a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or refugee; and able to work for at least 6 months.
Any organization can apply to this program. Applications deadlines are yet to be announced for 2020, so check often!
Funding for Summer Internships helps with the cost of an intern’s wage, but qualified companies must cover 25% of the intern’s wage themselves and be prepared to pay the chosen intern at least $0.50 more per hour than the provincial minimum wage.
Organizations wishing to apply for this program should be nonprofit, governments, or councils. Potential interns must be between 15 and 30 years old, studying (or a recent graduate) in a related field, not getting EI benefits, and a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (or refugee) legally allowed to work in Canada. Applications open in March 2020, so get your documents together!
NOTE: While the program itself is canada-wide, the summer internships are available only in Nova Scotia.
Interested organizations must complete the online employer application form.
There are yet more hiring incentives available for those in the technology industry. The Career-Launcher Internships program offers to subsidize employers who hire an intern for 6-12 months, full time. There are three categories available:
Any organization can apply to host an intern, but only small- to medium-sized organizations with less than 500 employees qualify for the Digital Tech Internship.
Your organization could receive up to 70% of the intern’s salary to a maximum of $15,000 in the Clean Tech Internship program, up to 50% to a maximum of $15,000 for the Natural Resources Internship ($20,000 if you hire an Indigenous youth or youths living in Northern, rural, and remote communities), and up to $15,000 for the Digital Tech Internship, with up to 50% of the wage covered if you’re a business and up to 75% for nonprofits.
The requirements for your intern for all three programs are as follows:
- 1They must be a post-secondary student or graduate.
- 2They must be no more than 30 years old upon application.
- 3They must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or refugee.
- 4They must be legally allowed to work in Canada.
- 5They must not be receiving EI.
- 6They must not be a previous participant of a federal youth employment program.
- 7They must a new employee.
If these programs have caught your attention and you’d like to apply for one, first make sure you have an established payroll system and a process for supervising and mentoring interns. Then simply apply online.
Programs for 2020 haven’t opened just yet, so submit your application now to be contacted when they do!
This Canada-wide grant program helps businesses and organizations in a variety sectors hire young people, which also allows more opportunities for youth to gain valuable skills and experiences in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and a chance to work in priority sectors such as clean technology, energy, forestry and mining, and earth sciences.
Businesses and organizations interested in applying for this subsidy can be legal entities validly incorporated or registered in Canada, including for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, indigenous organizations and groups, or any level of government.
Intern qualifications are the same as most other programs. They must be between 15 and 30 at the start of the internship; a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or refugee; legally entitled to work in Canada; and not receiving EI benefits during the internship.
Funding is ongoing, so take your time ensuring you have any required documents ready to ensure the application process is smooth.
To apply, check their website in April when their total funding is renewed.
To learn more about the program, email the Science and Technology Internship Program or call Toll-Free in Canada: 1-877-996-6199 or 343-292-8849 in Ottawa.
Here’s another two-part intern subsidy program for you to peruse. Both programs are intended to last 8-12 months and lead to a permanent job. This is an important point to keep in mind.
The Science Horizons Internship Program will give you up to $15,000 to hire a young intern studying science, technology, engineering, or math. This subsidy is for businesses operating in the green manufacturing, carbon and climate change mitigation, energy efficiency and green building, resource conservation, and environmental protection fields. Related fields are acceptable too, so just inquire if you’re unsure if your company is a good match.
The Youth Employment in Natural Resources Science & Technology Internship Program offers you up to 50% of an intern’s pay, up to $15,000 of course. However, should you hire an intern in a Northern, rural, remote community, this program could give you up to $20,000.
This program was created to put talented young people in STEM-related green jobs in natural resources sectors such as energy, forests, minerals/metals, and earth sciences.
Your organization could qualify for either program if you’re Canadian owned or a government department and hire a new intern under 30 to fill an open, full-time, permanent STEM or natural resources position.
Just make sure your chosen candidate is under 30; is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or refugee; is unemployed or underemployed when you hire them; haven’t previously participated in a federal youth employment program; and can start working within 30 days of being approved.
To apply, just take an eligibility quiz and complete the online application that follows, find a candidate for the approved position and have them apply (Then employers and approved candidates will become linked and contracts issued.), and send the signed contracts to ECO Canada. Be aware there will be reports and webinars to complete, and you’ll have to send pay stubs to receive the wage funding as you go.
Both programs are now considering applications for 2020, so don’t hesitate to look into them!
As the name says, this wage subsidy is specifically for any company of any size within the mining industry, whether for-profit or nonprofit.
Gearing Up is geared toward (Pun intended!) helping organizations create co-ops, internships, field placements, and other work-integrated learning opportunities for STEM students or MBA graduates.
This one too has no application deadline, so apply now to get up to $5,000 per student or graduate you hire, which reflects 50% of the new hire’s wages. And hey, if you hire a first-year student, a woman studying in a STEM or business program, an Indigenous student or disabled student, or a newcomer to Canada, your maximum gets raised to $7,000 or 70% of their wages.
To qualify for this subsidy, your company must of course be Canadian owned or a Canadian subsidiary and be involved in the mining sector. All you have to do is complete a one-page online form and send it to email@example.com or call Priya at 613.270.9696, ext.63. Just make sure you include a brief job description in your application.
They’re already accepting applications for placements to begin in April 2020, and priority is given to those already on a waitlist, so get your application in early.
Download this PDF for more information.
Federal Employment Tax Credits/Refunds
Who knew there was a tax credit for hiring apprentices? Well, now you do.
In an effort to create more jobs in the trades, the Canada Revenue Agency offers a tax credit to all types of businesses and organizations that hire an apprentice. The credit is the equivalent of 10% of an eligible apprentice’s wage. In the end, the maximum you can claim is $2,000/apprentice/year.
Not only do all businesses and organizations qualify for this credit, but an eligible apprentice is simply one who works in a Red Seal trade for the first two years of their employment contract, with that contract being registered with the government (at any level). Does it get any easier?
The maximum credit an employer can claim is $2,000 per year for each eligible apprentice, and that $2,000 is the maximum even when two or more employers hire the same apprentice, so it’s a good idea to be aware of whether this is the case with your apprentice. On the upside, this tax credit can be carried back 3 years and forward 20 years.
For more information or assistance, check this page out to choose your communication method—if you dare! We all know what it’s like to try and get through to the CRA!
Other Types of Federal Employment Support
The government of Canada offers compensation through the Department of National Defense for businesses and organizations that employ reservists. Even self-employed reservists can apply for this grant. The purpose of this one-time payment is to help mitigate the costs that pop up when reservist employees deploy full time.
Any Canadian employers other than the federal government, federal agencies, and Crown Corporations of a reservist employee are free to apply. However, the deploying reservist employee must have worked for the organization a minimum of 30 hours a week for 13 consecutive weeks (three consecutive months) before deploying to qualify. The reservist must also deploy for no less than 30 days.
Self-employed reservists should submit proof their business is real, active, and represents the main source of employment/income for at least 13 consecutive weeks (3 consecutive months) before deploying.
So if you hire a reservist, you can expect your one-time payment to consist of 40% of the reservist’s yearly earnings, divided by 52 weeks, and then multiplied by the number of weeks the reservist is deployed up to 78 weeks.
There is no deadline for this grant, but do check out their website to learn what supporting documents you need to submit to qualify.
For more information, contact PDER-CERP@servicecanada.gc.ca.
Employment Incentives Available in Ontario
Ontario Employment Grants
If you’re an Ontario business owner of any size, then you’re in luck because the Ontario government will pay you $1,000 outright when you hire and train an apprentice in one of the 27 eligible trades.
This grant has no application deadlines or hoops to jump through. Provided your company is for-profit, pays corporate or personal income tax in Ontario, and employs an apprentice, this money is yours.
All you have to do is ensure your apprentice has finished all their classroom and on-the-job training and received their final certification. You don’t have to do anything else except fill out the application form the Ontario government will send you within 180 days.
Should you find you need to know more or have questions, get in touch with your local Employment Ontario apprenticeship office.
For those in the manufacturing sector, there’s something for you as well. The goal of this program is to create 120 student work placements in the Machine, Tool, Die, and Mould (MTDM) sector, so this is just about the easiest program around for businesses and students or recent graduates to apply for.
Students or new graduates only have to be studying (or newly graduated from) the Mechanical Technician (Tool & Die, CNC Machining, Precision Metalworking) program offered throughout Ontario (or one much like it acceptable to CTMA). In some cases, new apprentices may also be considered.
This program boasts up to $3,000 for each work placement position. There is no application deadline; the program runs continuously as each placement lasts from 10 to 16 weeks. They’ll even fill out the application form for you and coordinate interviews and placements if you don’t already have a candidate in mind. If that’s the case, contact Robert Cattle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-301-6224. But if you do have a candidate, simply fill out the contact information form here.
Organizations interested in participating don’t have to meet many requirements either. As long as you’re a business in Ontario with at least 50% of your business in the MTDM sector of the automotive industry and pay the trainee at least minimum wage, then you could qualify.
So, get the help you need and give a young person a valuable learning opportunity. Just get in touch with Jamie at email@example.com or 1-888-599-3111 ext.114.
Ontario Employment Tax Credits/Refunds
And here’s a tax credit you can claim in Ontario come tax time for hiring a student studying in a co-operative education program at an Ontario university or college.
Any for-profit organization can claim it, providing the work placement meets the following requirements:
- 1The placement is part of a qualifying co-operative education program.
- 2An eligible educational institution has designed or approved the placement as a suitable learning situation.
- 3The placement engages the student in productive work.
- 4The placement lasts at least 10 consecutive weeks. Internships must last at least 8 consecutive months but no more than 16 consecutive months.
- 5You supervise and evaluate the student’s job performance, and the educational institution monitors the student's performance in the placement.
- 6The educational institution has certified the placement qualifies.The student is paid for the work performed.
If you qualify, your tax credit will differ depending on if your organization is a corporation or a small business. Corporations will receive 25% of eligible expenses, and small businesses will receive 30%, both up to $3,000. They consider a small business to be a corporation, partnership, or an individual with one or more unincorporated businesses whose total payroll in the previous tax year was $400,000 or less.
There are two ways to claim the credit, again depending on the size of your business. Corporations can claim it on Schedule 550 and file it with their T2 Corporation Income Tax Return on line 452 of Schedule 5, Tax Calculation Supplementary – Corporations.
Unincorporated businesses can claim it on Form ON479, Ontario Credits, and file it in their personal income tax return.
Beware that here too, when a student works for more than one employer, all employers receive only a share of the total credit of $3,000. And in a similar vein, members of partnerships claim only their share of the credit on their own corporate or personal tax returns.
Check out this page for more information on this tax credit.
Employment Incentives Available only in Northern Ontario
Northern Ontario Employment Grants
FEDNOR offers grants under two ongoing internship programs designed for nonprofits and SMEs in Northern Ontario.
Under the NODP, nonprofits could get up to 90% wage and benefit coverage for your new full-time intern, up to $31,500/year. SMEs could be eligible for 50% coverage up to $31,500 that could be used for wages, benefits, skills development, and associated travel costs. This internship is expected to be 12 months long and be a full-time position.
The EDI program may cover up to 90% up to $31,500 per year of the eligible costs of wages and benefits in a full-time position.
There are quite a few requirements the potential intern needs to meet though, so make sure yours meets them:
- 1They must be unemployed or underemployed youth under 30.
- 2They must have graduated within the last three years from a recognized postsecondary institution.
- 3They must be legally entitled to work in Canada.
- 4They must have not previously participated as a youth FEDNOR intern or in any other federal or provincial internship program with pay for six months or more.
- 5They must not be related to the directors, officers, or managers of the organization.
- 6They must work on projects related to innovation, digital economy, or trade (This only applies to SME internships).
Both programs prefer you hire Northern Ontario youth before hiring someone from elsewhere, and they encourage equal representation of all underrepresented groups (Indigenous, the disabled, visible minorities, and women).
To apply to either program, submit an application with contact and project information, along with the following documents:
- 1your latest audited financial statements
- 2proof of registration or incorporation (first-time applicants)
- 3a completed Applicant Declaration on Lobbying
- 4a Youth Internship Work Plan and mentoring/supervisory arrangement
- 5demonstrated networking opportunities for the intern
- 6a post-internship retention plan
- 7an endorsement by an appropriate or regulatory body, including unions where applicable
- 8a description of a fair and transparent recruitment, interview, and hiring process
For more information about the programs and organization evaluation criteria, visit their website, contact a FedNor Officer, or call them toll-free at 1-877-333-6673.
Northern Ontario Employment Subsidies
Don’t miss out on this one if you’re looking to hire a recent graduate and are located in Northern Ontario. The best part is, almost any Northern Ontario company or organization can apply as long as you already have at least one employee and have been operating for at least a year in a priority sector (Here’s a list.).
If you’re an eligible private sector employer, you could receive up to $31,500, which is equal to up to 50%of costs to cover the graduate’s wage. If you’re a nonprofit or public sector employer, you’ll get 90% of their wage, up to the same $31,500 cap of course.
Just apply online (click the Apply Now button at the bottom of the page) to take advantage of this program. They will contact you in 2 to 4 weeks to let you know if you qualify and what to do next.
Before you apply though, make sure your chosen candidate is a recent graduate (graduated less than 3 years ago) for whom this will be their first employment in this field, have not participated in this program before, and is legally able to work in Canada.
To learn more, email AskNOHFC@ontario.ca, call 1-800-461-8329, fax 1-705-945-6701, or pop in and see them in person:
Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation
Roberta Bondar Place 70 Foster Drive, Suite 200
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
The Bottom Line
Now that you’ve discovered there are plenty of financial hiring incentives to be had (more in Ontario than anywhere else unfortunately), what are you waiting for? Hiring a student or graduate is a win-win: you get the help you need (and hopefully they stay for the long-term) and only have to pay a portion of the cost you would on a regular employee, and the student/graduate gets priceless work experience and skills development.
Most of the programs are easy to qualify and apply for. Some of them even do all the work for you! That said, the number one thing to keep in mind is keep all necessary documents organized and easy to access. That will simplify your application process and improve your odds of success.
Good luck with growing your team!
Maurice (Moe) Muise learned the ins-and-outs of government while an employee of the Government of Canada in Ottawa for 10 years. His current focus is helping small businesses in Ontario to identify and maximize government grants to grow their business.
Click here to learn more about Moe’s background and how he can help your business.