Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program (SWPP)

Co-op Students at work

Information last updated on September 30, 2020. 

As part of the Government of Canada's Student Work Placement Program (SWPP), a variety of funding opportunities are available for employers to hire students for the purposes of experiential learning. You may be eligible to receive up to $7,500 in wage subsidies!

This funding is being administered by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) through 10 delivery partners.

SWPP scenario:

If you hire a student to work 35 hours a week at $18.00/hour for 16 weeks, normallly, your total cost for wages will be $10,080.

But with SWPP, your total cost would be $2,580!

Important Updates: SWPP funding has become temporarily more flexible. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has made temporary changes to the Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) to make accessing funding easier, provide you with more flexibility and allow you to hire more students! These changes will be valid until March 31, 2021.

If you didn't qualify for funding before, you should consider it now! You may qualify for up to 75% in wage subsidies (to a max. of $7500) per co-op student you hire.

You may also consider using SWPP to hire more co-op students to assist with new projects and changes due to COVID-19. As an example, accessing funding through SWPP may provide you with the financial flexibility to hire four co-op students with the budget normally required for one.

SWPP eligibility changes (valid until March 31, 2021):

  • Shortened work terms (8 – 16 weeks in duration) may now be eligible for SWPP funding.
  • Co-op students can work from home.
  • Post-secondary institutions now qualify for SWPP funding as long as the experience is a quality work-integrated learning opportunity that's linked to the student's program of study and career goals. This also applies to research positions.
  • "Net new" hire restrictions have been removed. All co-op students are now considered for funding (not just new roles or more students hired compared to the previous year).

Note: some exceptions may apply if you will be engaging a student as an independent contractor. 

Are you eligible to apply?

This guide provides you with a general assessment of eligibility.

If you meet the following requirements, you will likely be eligible for SWPP funding.

Employer eligibility assessment

The employer is: 

  • A registered Canadian business or organization OR post-secondary education institution
  • Not a federal or provincial government organization
  • Financially capable to hire a student for a part- or full-time work term, pay them consistently and provide a meaningful work experience

Student eligibility assessment

The student is:

  • A Canadian Citizen, permanent resident or a protected person defined by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
  • Registered as a full-time student in a post-secondary institution program
  • Not an international student requiring (or on) a work permit
  • Not an immediate family member of the employer

Remember that final decisions lie with the SWPP funding partners. This is to provide employers with a guideline only

All SWPP delivery partner info

Frequently asked questions

We've taken questions that we know our employers are asking and have consulted with our experts at Co-operative and Experiential Education to provide some helpful answers.

Are you a University of Waterloo staff or faculty member looking to hire a co-op student?

Learn more about SWPP funding options specifically for you.

If you already hire UWaterloo students, please contact your service team about any questions you have about SWPP by logging into WaterlooWorks and sending a message.