OTTAWA, August 28, 2017 – Earlier today, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) released its plan to provide eligible employers with wage subsidies to support work-integrated learning opportunities for students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and business. Students are extremely pleased to see the federal government take an active role in promoting work-integrated learning and see the announcement as a valuable first step towards ensuring that all students have these opportunities in the future.
First announced in Budget 2016, the investment of $73 million will increase co-op placements for students in high-demand fields. Eligible employers will receive wage subsidies to cover up to 50 percent of the wage paid to students in high quality work placements, up to a maximum of $5,000 per placement. Additionally, government will cover up to 70% of wages, to a maximum of $7,000, for work-integrated learning placements filled by first-year students and those from under-represented groups, including women in STEM, Indigenous students, people with disabilities and newcomers.
“Studies have shown that students who participate in quality work placements reflecting their field of study benefit from quicker and smoother transitions into the workforce” said Shifrah Gadamsetti, CASA’s Board Chair. “It is our belief that these new opportunities will have a very positive impact for students. It is also encouraging to see government provide extra support for students in historically under-represented groups, as they tend to encounter additional barriers based on a variety of intersectional factors.”
CASA’s recent policy paper, entitled Student (Un)Employment in Canada, underlined the fact that among youth aged 20-24, those in under-represented groups, including Indigenous youth, immigrants, visible minorities, and youth with a disability, suffered from much higher unemployment rates compared to others within that same age group. Providing these students with additional supports to transition into high demand fields is a strong step towards creating an inclusive economy.
Ms. Gadamsetti continues, “Students are pleased to see government providing work-integrated learning opportunities for those in STEM and business, and they hope that these opportunities will be made available to students from all programs in the near future.”
Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, student organization composed of 21 student associations representing 250,000 post-secondary students from coast to coast. CASA advocates for a Canadian post-secondary education system that is accessible, affordable, innovative and of the highest quality.
Lindsay Boyd, Communications and Public Relations Officer
Phone: 613-236-3457 ext. 224