How to access government grants for hiring youth

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There are many government grants and wage subsidies available to support the hiring of young, talented workers. Employers can use these incentives to leverage the skills of students, recent post-secondary graduates, Master’s/PhD graduates, and workers with disabilities.

While many of the top hiring incentives are available in the spring and summer months, there are still opportunities to access funding year-round. Depending on the type of position your business is hiring for, there could be multiple grants and incentives worth keeping track of. The keys to success are taking a proactive approach to understand what’s out there and implementing a plan for when and how you’ll apply.

Because all businesses’ hiring needs vary, we’ve identified multiple types of hiring support covered through government funding. Examine the options identified through this article and develop a plan for how your company might be able to use hiring incentives.

Types of hiring grants and incentives for Canadian employers

The best hiring supports for Canadian businesses currently include:

  • Four-Month Internships: Supports the hiring of students for 16-week work assignments (student must be returning to university or college). The program provides up to $5,000-7,000 per intern. These candidates must be placed on CPP/EI deductions and work a minimum of 30 hours/week.
  • Post-Secondary Graduates: Provides up to $15,000 to hire a STEM or Business graduate (must have graduated within the past three years with a minimum two-year degree or diploma) to fulfil a role that has an environmental impact.
  • Master’s/PhD Graduates: Supports the hiring of Master’s graduates (up to $20,000 per candidate) or PhD graduates (up to $35,000 per candidate) to support a research and development project. Businesses can apply for funding and have the candidate start prior to being accepting into the program, however employers cannot issue an employment agreement until the program application has been submitted. Typically, formal approval is granted within six to eight weeks, but you can hire the candidate as soon as one day after the application is submitted.

Align hiring grants to your business’ strategic priorities

To develop a strategic plan that optimizes government funding for hiring new employees, companies should consider the following three questions:

  1. How many youth (15-30 years old) hires are you intending to hire in the next six months?
  2. Are you interested in hiring post-secondary students, graduates, or both?
  3. Are you conducting research projects that post-secondary students could contribute to?

These three questions help pinpoint the most suitable grant(s) to support your business or candidate focus. Once a candidate has been found, companies may begin the application process. Most programs require candidates to be left off payroll until the business has been approved for funding. Approval timelines vary by program but are typically about 10-15 business days.

To discuss your upcoming hires and explore if they’re a good fit for hiring grants, please contact Mentor Works, the Government Funding Planners™.

Mentor Works is a business support organization specializing in Canadian government funding. The Ontario-based business has helped hundreds of businesses build and execute their funding strategy through a mix of federal and provincial government grants, loans, and tax credits. Mentor Works offers free online resources, funding webinars, and news via their website at

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