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

Co-op Students at work

Information last updated on February 10, 2021. 

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 12 delivery partners.

SWPP scenario:

If you hire a student to work 35 hours a week at $18.00/hour for 16 weeks, normally, 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. 

Interested in hiring for Spring 2021? Learn more about SWPP funding for spring term here.

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 April 30, 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 April 30, 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. 


Hiring for Spring 2021

SWPP partners have begun processing applications for the Spring term, but temporary flexibilities introduced due to COVID-19 may not be extended past April 30, 2021. Applications will be processed based on previous eligibility requirements including: 

  • Organizations within Canada that offer full-time employment opportunities between 12-16 weeks for full-time post-secondary students can receive wage subsidies:
    • up to 50% of the wage cost for the placement (up to a maximum of $5,000 per placement) per student OR 
    • up to 70% (up to a maximum of $7,000 per placement) for under-represented students including first-year students, women in STEM, indigenous students, persons with disabilities and newcomers. 
  • Employers can hire students in any program  
  • Students must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents or a person to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for the duration of employment to qualify for funding from SWPP 
  • Provincial, territorial governments and post-secondary institutions are NOT eligible for SWPP funding 
  • Positions must be net new to qualify for SWPP funding (i.e.: positions over and above what employers hire last year at the same time). 

NOTE: The temporary flexibility applied in response to COVID-19 to SWPP may be extended. We expect this announcement to come after March 30, 2021. 


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

A tip to maximize your funding

Student Work Placement Program funding can be combined with the Ontario Co-operative Education Tax Credit. This mean that you might be eligible to receive both types of funding.

For example: for each student you hire, you could receive up to $7,500 in SWPP funding plus an Ontario Co-opertive Education Tax Credit of up to $3,000 in expenditures not covered by SWPP!


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.