Government of Canada launches student work placements

Aug 29, 2017

Helping 60,000 post-secondary students get important work-ready skills over the next five years

August 29, 2017          Dorval, Quebec                       Employment and Social Development Canada

Giving post-secondary students the chance to learn in a hands-on work environment is part of the Government’s plan to put Canada’s greatest strength—its skilled, hard-working people—at the heart of a more innovative new economy.

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, today announced that the Government of Canada will help create 60,000 student work placements over the next five years.

The Government of Canada is rolling out a $73-million investment in the Student Work-Integrated Learning Program to create 10,000 paid student work placements over the next four years, facilitating stronger partnerships between employers and partnering polytechnics, universities, and colleges. Budget 2017 also announced $221 million in funding over five years for Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that provides research internships with a goal of creating 10,000 work placements per year.

Minister Hajdu made the announcement at Air Canada’s Montréal maintenance hangar during an event on behalf of the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace, one of several industry partners working with the Government of Canada. The Council, a national partnership organization that helps to ensure the aviation and aerospace industry has sufficient skilled workers to meet current needs and projected growth, will receive $4.8 million. It is expected that more than 1,000 student work placements will be created for post-secondary students through this partnership.


“When Canadian students get on-the-job education, they’re getting the experience they need to succeed. Our Innovation and Skills Plan is putting Canada’s skilled, talented and creative people at the heart of a more innovative future economy.”
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

“The federal government is showing leadership to help achieve a long-term solution to the critical, and growing, shortage of skilled labour. This program provides a firm foundation to address the current shortages and build for the future needs of the industry.”
– Robert Donald, Executive Director, Canadian Council of Aviation and Aerospace

“As Canada’s largest employer in the aviation sector, Air Canada supports initiatives such as this to help develop Canada’s workforce and expertise in aircraft maintenance. Together with our industry partners, we look forward to working with the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace to provide students across Canada access to hands-on learning opportunities and access to state-of-the-art technology.”
– Richard Steer, Senior Vice President, Operations at Air Canada

Quick Facts

  • Work-integrated learning is a continuum of opportunities offered within the workplace such as internships, apprenticeships, and cooperative placements (co-ops).
  • Student work placements help students acquire hands-on experience to build skills and connections that will help them get good jobs.
  • Students who participate in these opportunities are more likely to benefit from higher earnings, more employment, be employed in fields more closely related to their studies and develop technical and work-ready skills sought after by employers.
  • In 2016, the aerospace industry generated $27 billion in revenues and provided over 160,000 jobs.


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