Skills Training for Canadians

The Government of Canada has many programs and initiatives to help Canadians get the skills that employers are looking for, to ensure Canadians are qualified to take the in-demand jobs available.

Canada Job Grant

The Canada Job Grant will help Canadians get the training they need for available jobs and put skills training decisions in the hands of employers. It will provide up to $15,000 per person for training costs, such as tuition and training materials, which includes up to $10,000 in federal contributions. Employers will be required to contribute on average one-third of the total costs of training.

Canada Job Fund

The Labour Market Agreements with the Provinces and Territories, created in 2007, are being transformed into the new Canada Job Fund to ensure greater employer involvement in training. Nationally, the Government of Canada will continue to provide $500 million annually to the provinces and territories for investments in skills training through the Canada Job Fund. The Canada Job Fund will include $200 million of employer-driven training nationally, beginning in 2017–18, which may include funding for the Canada Job Grant or other existing employer-driven training programs.

Labour Market Development Agreement

The Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs) are the Government of Canada’s largest labour market transfer, providing $2.15 billion in annual funding to the provinces and territories. LMDAs fund a broad range of employment programs across the country, including employment counselling, labour market information, skills training and wage subsidies to employers to provide individuals with work experience.

Labour Markets Agreement for Persons with Disabilities

The Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities (LMAPDs) are the Government of Canada’s single largest investment in helping Canadians with disabilities get jobs. As announced in Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government of Canada is introducing a new generation of LMAPDs to improve the employment prospects for Canadians with disabilities and better meet the needs of Canadian businesses by requiring greater employer involvement in training and requiring better reporting of results. This new generation of LMAPDs represents a federal investment of $222 million per year in the provinces and territories.

Apprenticeship Grants

The Apprenticeship Grants encourage Canadians to pursue and complete apprenticeship training in designated Red Seal trades. As a result of these grants, apprentices receive up to $4,000, which can be used to pay for tuition, tools or other expenses.

The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant is a cash grant of $1,000 per year, up to a maximum of $2,000 per person, available to registered apprentices once they have successfully finished their first or second year/level of an apprenticeship program in one of the Red Seal trades. As of May 4, 2014, the Government has provided 351,941 Apprenticeship Incentive Grants.

The Apprenticeship Completion Grant is a cash grant of $2,000 available to registered apprentices who have successfully completed their apprenticeship training and obtained their journeyperson certification in a designated Red Seal trade.  As of May 4, 2014, the Government has provided 119,393 Apprenticeship Completion Grants:

Canada Apprentice Loan

To help more apprentices complete their training and encourage more Canadians to consider a career in the skilled trades, the Canada Apprentice Loan will offer interest-free loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training to apprentices in Red Seal trades. Interest charges and loan repayment will be deferred until the recipient completes or cancels their study program. It is estimated that at least 26,000 apprentices per year will receive over $100 million in loans.

Flexibility and Innovation in Apprenticeship Technical Training

The Flexibility and Innovation in Apprenticeship Technical Training (FIATT) pilot project to expand innovative approaches to the delivery of apprentice technical training aimed at reducing non-financial barriers to completing training and obtaining certification. This could include using in-class simulators, e-learning modules, remote learning sites and video conferencing in place of, or in addition to, traditional in-class training. The project will test alternatives to the block training approach that exists across most of the country in order to allow apprentices to continue working and earning while fulfilling the technical training requirements of their programs.

Red Seal Program

The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program was established to provide greater mobility for skilled workers across Canada. The Red Seal program allows qualified tradespeople to practice their trade anywhere in Canada where the trade is designated without having to write further examinations. To date, 55 trades are included in the Red Seal program, accounting for almost 90 percent of all apprentices and more than 80 percent of the total trades workforce in Canada.

Targeted Initiative for Older Workers

The Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW) is a federal-provincial/territorial cost shared initiative that provides unemployed older workers (normally between the ages of 55 and 64) with employment assistance services, skills upgrading and work experience. TIOW assists unemployed older workers in small, vulnerable communities of 250,000 or less that are experiencing high unemployment, significant downsizing or closures to re-integrate into the workforce. Economic Action Plan 2014 renewed TIOW for three-years, representing a federal investment of $75 million and is expanding the program to include communities experiencing unfulfilled employer demand and/or skills mismatches.

Foreign Credential Recognition Program

The Foreign Credential Recognition Program aims to help internationally trained workers get jobs in their field in Canada faster. The Program provides funding to and works with the provinces and territories and other stakeholders—including regulatory bodies, post‑secondary institutions and employers—to implement projects that facilitate the assessment and recognition of qualifications acquired in other countries.

Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications

The Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications is a national framework that is improving foreign credential recognition for priority occupations, including physicians and engineers. Under the framework, internationally trained workers who submit an application to be licensed or registered to work in certain fields, along with all fees and relevant documents, will be advised within one year how their credentials compare to Canadian standards. They may also be advised of additional requirements or be directed to alternative occupations that would benefit from their skills and experience. Service standards have been established so that internationally trained professionals in 14 priority occupations, many in healthcare, can have their credentials assessed within one year, anywhere in Canada.

Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy

The Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) supports 85 Aboriginal organizations throughout Canada that deliver skills training and support services to prepare First Nations, Métis and Inuit people to succeed in the workforce. ASETS was launched in April 2010 with support of $1.6 billion over five years. Since 2010, ASETS has helped 42,000 people get a job and another 20,000 return to school. 

First Nations Job Fund

The First Nations Job Fund (FNJF) provides young Income Assistance recipients who are able to work with the training necessary to participate in the Canadian labour market. The FNJF provides personalized job training to on-reserve Income Assistance clients from participating First Nations who are aged 18 to 24. ASETS organizations will work with local training institutions and employers to ensure Income Assistance clients are provided with the training they need to access jobs, ensuring that youth develop the knowledge and skills that employers require.

Skills and Partnership Fund

Launched in July 2010, the Skills and Partnership Fund (SPF) is an excellent example of how the Government of Canada is working in partnership with other levels of governments, Aboriginal organizations and industry to address Canada’s skills shortages. With employers investing directly in these partnerships, Aboriginal Canadians receive training they need for available jobs that help them take advantage of economic opportunities and build better futures for themselves, their families and their communities. Since 2010, SPF has helped 850 people get a job and another 300 return to school. 

Youth Employment Strategy

The Youth Employment Strategy (YES) is the Government of Canada’s commitment to help youth get jobs. With annual funding of approximately $330 million, YES helps youth between the ages of 15 and 30 get the information and gain the skills, job experience and abilities they need to make a successful transition to the workplace. YES includes the Skills Link and Career Focus programs and Canada Summer Jobs, which creates thousands of job opportunities for students every summer.

Career Focus

Career Focus helps post-secondary graduates obtain the information, skills and experience they need to make informed career decisions, find a job or further their education, including providing career-related work experience. Since 2006, Career Focus has helped over 26,000 youth acquire the skills to get jobs.

Skills Link

Skills Link helps youth facing barriers to employment—including those who have not completed high school, single parents, Aboriginal youth, youth with disabilities, newcomers and youth in rural and remote areas—to help them make a successful transition into the job market or to return to school. Skills Link has helped over 179,000 youth since 2006.

Canada Summer Jobs

Canada Summer Jobs provides funding to not-for-profit organizations, public-sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees to create summer job opportunities for young people aged 15 to 30 who are full-time students intending to return to their studies in the next school year. Since it began in 2007, Canada Summer Jobs has helped over 260,000 students.

Internships in high-demand fields

This program will help up to 3,000 post-secondary graduates take part in full-time paid internships across the country in high-demand fields such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the skilled trades. The internships, which will last between six and 12 months, will take place over the next two years and give participants the opportunity to gain the real-life work experience and skills necessary to succeed in the workplace now and in the future.

Internships in small and medium-sized business

The program helps youth get jobs by providing related work experiences and targets post-secondary graduates aged 30 and younger. This initiative will provide opportunities for up to 1,000 full-time paid internships with small and medium-sized businesses, which are key drivers of Canada’s economy and are in need of skilled workers.

Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities

The Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities provides $30 million annually to help people with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and keep employment or become self-employed. Economic Action Plan 2013 announced a $10 million increase in ongoing funding, to $40 million annually. Employers and community organizations are involved in designing and delivering projects.

In addition, through Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government of Canada will provide $15 million over three years to the Ready, Willing and Able initiative of the Canadian Association for Community Living to help connect people with developmental disabilities with jobs and $11.4 million over four years to support the expansion of vocational training programs for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Canadian Employers Disabilities Forum

The forum, an initiative led by a number of Canadian businesses including Loblaw Companies Limited, will be managed by employers, for employers, to support education, training and sharing of resources and best practices concerning the hiring and retention of people with disabilities. Under the leadership of the forum, employers will help to promote and further the invaluable contributions that persons with disabilities can make to their business.

Office of Literacy and Essential Skills

In 2007, the Government of Canada created the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) to provide adult Canadians with the knowledge and skills they need to enter and succeed in the job market. Through the OLES, the Government works in partnership with provincial and territorial governments, employers and community organizations to provide Canadians with the tools and resources they need to take advantage of job opportunities, contribute to their communities and share in the country’s prosperity.

Canada Student Loans and Grants

The Government of Canada helps post-secondary students finance and repay their education through loans, grants and repayment assistance. In 2011-2012, more than half a million Canadians received direct financial support from the Canada Student Loans Program to help them pursue their post-secondary education.

Canada Student Grants provide up-front, non-repayable financial assistance to low- and middle-income students, students with permanent disabilities, and students with dependents. For borrowers having difficulty making their payments, the Repayment Assistance Plan helps them repay their loans. Also, family doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and family medicine residents in more than 4,200 designated rural and remote communities across Canada can apply for Canada Student Loan forgiveness. In addition, part-time students are no longer charged interest on their loans while they study.

The Government of Canada continues to invest in post-secondary education and enhance student financial assistance to make it easier for students to have access to financial support so they can gain the skills and knowledge they need to get jobs.

Pathways to Education

Pathways to Education Canada is the largest community-based early intervention program in Canada. The program was created to reduce poverty and its effects by lowering the high school dropout rate and increasing access to post-secondary education (PSE) among disadvantaged youth. Pathways to Education provides tutoring, mentoring and counselling, and financial support such as bursaries for PSE and funding for certain costs related to attending high school (e.g. bus tickets).

First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program

The First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program supports initiatives that help young people to acquire the essential skills that will help them gain employment and function well in the workplace, and to learn about various career options. Another goal is to promote the benefits of education to labour force participation. Projects may include career fairs, co-operative education projects and other school-based work and study opportunities. Those eligible are First Nations and Inuit youth who reside on-reserve or in recognized communities/community lands.

Housing Internship Initiative for First Nations and Inuit Youth

This youth employment initiative provides work experience and on-the-job training for First Nations and Inuit youth to assist them in pursuing long-term employment in the housing industry. Housing Internships are available to First Nations and Inuit youth who have an eligible sponsor. Work experience and on-the-job training must be related to housing activities, such as, but not limited to: housing administration, construction, renovation, maintenance and client counseling. The initiative is available to residents of a First Nations reserve or Inuit community between the ages of 15 and 30 who are out of school and currently unemployed.

Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage

The Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage program supports several types of internships, including internships in Canadian heritage fields, conservation sciences, and arts administration, as well as museum internships abroad. Through this program, employers gain access to a pool of young talented candidates dedicated to creating a better understanding and appreciation of Canada and its rich cultural heritage.

Young Canada Works at Building Career in English and French

This program consists of international internships only. An organization is eligible for this program if it is an incorporated organization or company with opportunities to build advanced skills through internships in institutions such as private companies, public sector organizations, and non-profit organizations. Through this program, employers gain access to young graduates with competitive skills, fresh ideas and the ability to work in both official languages.

International Environmental Youth Corps

The International Environmental Youth Corps (IEYC) is a key component of the federal government's Youth Employment Strategy. The program provides graduates with internships from 6 to 12 months, within the environmental sector, to help them get the work experience, knowledge, skills and information they need to prepare for and participate in the world of work. Through this program, graduates are exposed to valuable work experience and projects in Canada, but also have the possibility of international internships, in order to face the demands of the competitive, ever-changing environmental industry. The IEYC program also provides financial support to employers. Those who can apply include universities, non-governmental organizations, private businesses, and students.

Science Horizons Youth Internship Program

This program gives recent post-secondary graduates opportunities to develop knowledge, skills and experience that will prepare them for sustainable employment in the field of environmental science. Through these opportunities, Environment Canada is also supporting organizations across Canada that advance environmental science. Through collaborative partnerships with organizations that have been awarded Science Horizons funding, young, post-secondary graduates receive hands-on experience working on environmental projects in internships lasting a minimum of six months. These internships must be completed by March 31, 2015. Since 1997, Environment Canada's Science Horizons Program has helped over 1500 young men and women across Canada obtain practical work experience in environmental projects in areas of importance to the environment.

International Youth Internship Program

Through the International Youth Internship Program, Canadian youth work with Canadian partner organizations such as universities, colleges, and civil society organizations to gain international experience, skills, and knowledge that will enhance their future careers. The International Youth Internship Program aims to engage Canadian post-secondary graduates between the ages of 19 and 30 in international development through public awareness, education and greater youth participation.

Community Access Program Youth Initiative

Youth internships at community access sites are coordinated by Industry Canada and are funded through Canada's Youth Employment Strategy. The internships are intended to provide employment opportunities for young Canadians between the ages of 15 and 30, primarily students, recent graduates, the underemployed and the unemployed. Youth interns work at community access sites across Canada helping individuals, community organizations and small businesses improve their knowledge and effective use of the Internet and related information technologies. This helps Canada create jobs and other social, educational and economic benefits associated with the expanded use of information and communications technology.

Technical Work Experience Program, Computers for Schools

The Technical Work Experience Program (TWEP) component of the Computers for Schools Program allows funding recipients to hire students and recent graduates from college and university. The Program provides young people with a maximum of 52 weeks paid, practical, on-the-job experience in Computer for Schools refurbishment centres throughout Canada. The Computers for Schools Program helps thousands of young Canadians get hands-on experience with information technologies and access to computers and software, and provides valuable work experience in the information technology field. TWEP allows youth to gain work experience by focusing in areas like document management, interpreting online technical manuals, installing/testing software, and setting up TCP/IP addresses.

National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program

The Industrial Research Assistance Program provides innovation and funding services customized to specific needs. Their goal is to help accelerate the growth of your business through innovation and technology. The program helps firms to develop technologies and successfully commercialize them in a global marketplace through advisory services, funding, networking and linkages, and a youth employment program.

Science and Technology Internship Program

The Science and Technology Internship Program provides an opportunity to recent graduates in natural science and engineering to gain relevant and meaningful work experiences within their field of studies. The goals of the program are to allow graduates to acquire professional skills and practical work experiences to facilitate their transition to the labour market and to eventually find sustained employment, and to allow organizations within the natural resources sector to develop the knowledge economy and increase the pool of versatile and highly qualified youth to ensure continuous innovation in their fields of research and development.

First Nations and Inuit Summer Work Experience Program

The First Nations and Inuit Summer Work Experience Program provides youth with opportunities for summer employment so that they can gain work experience, and develop or enhance essential employability skills—the critical skills needed in the workplace, such as communication, problem-solving and teamwork. In addition, these summer work placements allow youth to learn about career options and to earn income that may contribute to university or college education. The program is available to First Nations and Inuit secondary and post-secondary students aged 15 to 30 living on-reserve or in recognized communities, who were registered as full-time students during the preceding academic year and who intend to return to school on a full-time basis in the next academic year.

Young Canada Works

Young Canada Works, part of the Youth Employment Strategy, is committed to helping students and recent graduates, particularly those facing barriers to employment, get the information and gain the skills, experience and ability they need to enter Canada's workforce. It also gives them the chance to put their skills to the test, build career equity, or even earn money for their education. The program offers employers an opportunity to benefit from innovative ideas and competitive skills. Wage subsidies are available for eligible employers. Young Canada Works sponsors two summer job programs for students:

Young Canada Works in Both Official Languages

This program aims to provide summer employment to students in their field of study in a second official language or in an official-language minority community where they will be able to use their first language.

Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations

This job creation program aims to provide summer work experience students can build on. While employers gain access to a pool of enthusiastic young workers, students gain the opportunity to work in the field of built heritage while earning money for their education. Student work terms last between 6 and 16 consecutive weeks.

Young Canada Works for Aboriginal Urban Youth

Young Canada Works–Aboriginal Urban Youth (YCW-AUY) offers students and recent graduates the chance to put their skills to the test, build career equity, earn money for their education or get started on the right career path. Summer jobs give young urban Aboriginal people access to unique opportunities to learn and work, at a Friendship Centre or even travel abroad. The youth employed through YCW-AUY assist in the delivery of programs to the community, primarily focusing on youth-related activities such as recreation, special-events, cultural activities, drop-in centres, outreach programs and peer counselling.

Small Business Internship Program

The Small Business Internship Program enables small and medium-sized businesses to obtain funding to hire post-secondary students for 12-week full-time internships in a field related to information and communication technology. To be eligible, a business must be establishes, have fewer than 500 employees, be incorporated or a sole proprietorship and for profit, wish to enhance their e-business capability, and contribute 25 percent of the student wages related expenses.

Building Digital Skills

In Budget 2011, the federal government announced it would reallocate $60 million over the next three years to promote enrolment in key disciplines related to the digital economy, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.