Hiring during COVID-19

As workplaces around the world shift their practices to respond to COVID 19, we understand that much is changing for employers and that co-op students continue to actively search for work.

We've put together resources to help you:

Access funding to hire a co-op student

As an employer, you can access a wide range of funding to hire co-op students as well as new graduates and current students.

Some co-op funding opportunities have been made available in response to COVID-19. In some cases, funding from multiple sources can be stacked (i.e., you may be able to receive funding from multiple sources to fund a co-op placement).

Student Work Placement Program (SWPP)

Canada's federal SWPP has adjusted its requirements to support a wider range of employers during COVID-19. Do you work at UVic? Post-secondary institutions are eligible to be waitlisted for SWPP funding. Check out the SWPP delivery partner information below for details.

SWPP information and student eligibility

Originally set up to help post-secondary students in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and business programs get work experience, the Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) is now open to students in most post-secondary programs.

NOTE: See the section below on "Temporary changes in response to COVID-19" for the most current information about funding opportunities.

What is the SWPP?

The SWPP program provides funding in the form of wage subsidies to employers that offer quality work to post-secondary students:

  1. Usually, SWPP funding would cover 50% of the wages (up to a maximum of $5,000) for every student hired through the program. Shortly, in response to COVID-19, SWPP funding will cover 75% of the wages - up to a maximum of $7,500 - for every student hired through the program.
  2. Usually, SWPP funding would cover 70% of the wages (up to a maximum of $7,000) for every student hired that is in their first academic year or is from an under-represented group including women in STEM, persons with disabilities, newcomers and Indigenous students. Shortly, in response to COVID-19, SWPP funding will cover 75% of the wages - up to a maximum of $7,500 - for every student hired through the program.
  3. Wages for the position cannot be funded by another federally funded program, but could be combined with non-federal funding.

Application deadlines differ, but generally, employers should apply for funding before students start their work terms.

What employers are eligible?

Registered Canadian businesses or non-profit organizations are eligible, including post-secondary institutions (post-secondaries have been added in response to COVID-19).

What students are eligible?

Students must be:
  • registered in a post-secondary program that includes work placements;
  • a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or person with refugee protection given under the law; and
  • legally able to work in Canada according to the laws and regulations of the province or territory where they live

Temporary changes in response to COVID 19

As a response to COVID-19, SWPP has made the following changes to its requirements. These changes will be in place until March 31, 2021:

  1. The SWPP program provides funding in the form of wage subsidies to employers that offer quality work to post-secondary students: the amount of coverage will shortly increase to 75% of the wages (up to a maximum of $7,500) for every student hired through the program.  This increase will be prorated for placements that are underway when the change takes effect. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.
  2. SWPP now allows for flexibility in the start date and overall duration of the work term as long as the post secondary institution approves.
  3. Students can now work from home; this was previously not permitted. The work term still needs to be a quality WIL experience for the student.
  4. Employers may be offered a portion of the wage subsidy up front to help the employer offset the student’s wages.
  5. Where not already available, a pre-approval process is to be implemented by all SWPP providers so that employers will know sooner if they are eligible for the grant. 
  6. Post-secondary institutions can apply for SWPP through any of the 10 funding partners. Applied research projects will be considered but the more that the position can demonstrate the WIL opportunity for the student, the more likely it will be approved.

NOTE: Some individual delivery partners have made additional changes to requirements in response to COVID-19. Changes are under delivery partner descriptions below.

SWPP delivery partners

SWPP delivery partners - by sector

There are ten employer delivery partners, listed below by sector. Both Magnet and Venture for Canada are open to employers in any sector. Eligibility and application processes vary across partners. Please see specific websites and contacts for more information.

Any sector

Magnet – Magnet Student Work Placement Program

  • For employers in these sectors: No restriction.
  • For students in these programs: No restriction.
  • Eligible roles: No restriction.
  • COVID-19 update:
    • UVic departments that are hiring students are eligible for this funding. If you are are part of a UVic department/office and have already hired a co-op student for the May - August work term, then you have been automatically included in UVic's overall application for Magnet funding. If you are considering hiring a co-op student and would like to be included in the application for this funding, please email employer@uvic.ca to have your information rolled into the consolidated UVic application. See other types of funding here
    • UPDATE ON SWPP funding availability: At this time, it is our understanding that the majority of SWPP funding has been allocated and that applicants are being waitlisted. The processes to be waitlisted are the same as the regular application processes.
  • Contact and application information:

Venture for Canada – Venture for Canada

  • For employers in these sectors: No sector restriction, targeted employers are SMEs, start-ups, social enterprises, non-profits, or charities located in BC, AB, MB, SK, NB, NS, PEI, or NL, with a maximum of 500 employees. This funding may be stacked with other, non-federal funding (such as the BC Tech Co-op Grant) such that the total grant amount covers up to $10,000 of the student's salary. The combined value of grants cannot exceed the student's salary. See other types of funding here.
  • For students in these programs: No restriction.
  • Eligible roles: No restriction
  • UPDATE ON SWPP funding availability: Venture for Canada has advised that funding for summer placements has been fully allocated.  Applications are being taken for Fall 2020 funding.
  • Contact and application information:

Aerospace/Aviation

Canadian Council for Aviation & Aerospace (CCAA) – Student Work Placement Program (SWPP)

  • For employers in these sectors: Aviation and aerospace sector, including supplier organizations. Research positions at post-secondary institutions are not eligible.
  • For students in these programs: Science, technology, engineering or math (STEM), or business.
  • Eligible roles: No restriction.
  • Contact and application information:

Biotechnology

BioTalent – BioTalent Student Work Placement Program

  • For employers in these sectors: Bio-economy employer or fulfilling a bio-economy job function. May not be an educational institution.
  • For students in these programs: No restriction.
  • Eligible roles: Bio-economy employer or fulfilling a bio-economy job function.
  • COVID-19 related changes: This funding may be stacked with other, non-federal funding (such as the BC Tech Co-op Grant) such that the total grant amount covers up to $10,000 of the student's salary. The combined value of grants cannot exceed the student's salary. See other types of funding here.
  • Contact and application information:

Electricity

Electricity Human Resources Canada – Empowering Futures

  • For employers in these sectors: Firms whose primary activity is the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. Sector support including renewables, in any of the following areas: R & D, business development, energy efficiency. Firms engaged in manufacturing of equipment and the provision of services necessary to generation, transmission or distribution.
  • For students in these programs: Science, technology, engineering, mathematics, arts, or business program.
  • Eligible roles: No restriction
  • COVID-19 update: This funding may be stacked with other, non-federal funding (such as the BC Tech Co-op Grant) such that the total grant amount covers up to $10,000 of the student's salary. The combined value of grants cannot exceed the student's salary. See other types of funding here.
  • Contact and application information:

Environment

ECO Canada – Student Work Placement Program

  • For employers in these sectors: Not restricted, except that federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments are not eligible.
  • For students in these programs: Science, technology, engineering, art, math (STEAM) and business.
  • COVID-19 related changes: This funding may be stacked with other, non-federal funding (such as the BC Tech Co-op Grant) such that the total grant amount covers up to $10,000 of the student's salary. The combined value of grants cannot exceed the student's salary. See other types of funding here.
  • Eligible roles: Environmental roles.
  • Contact and application information:

Financial services

Toronto Financial International – Aspire Program

The Aspire program is a little different from other SWPP delivery partners’ because it does not fund student roles. However, it offers specialized training and support for students and promotional support to employers.

  • For employers in these sectors: Financial services.
  • For students in these programs: No restriction.
  • Eligible roles: No restriction.
  • Contact and application information:

Information and communication technology

ICTC - WIL Digital Program

  • For employers in these sectors: Advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, fintech, intelligent retail, big data, clean tech, connected transportation, entertainment and gaming, e-health.
  • For students in these programs: Science, technology, engineering, math or business.
  • Eligible roles: focused on digital sectors, including emerging information technology (IT) & information communications technology (ICT).
  • COVID-19 update: This funding may be stacked with other, non-federal funding (such as the BC Tech Co-op Grant) such that the total grant amount covers up to $10,000 of the student's salary. The combined value of grants cannot exceed the student's salary. See other types of funding here.
  • Contact and application information:

TECHNATION (formerly ITAC) – Career Ready Program

  • For employers in these sectors: Private sector, non-profits, municipalities and hospitals but not federal or provincial government or post secondary institutions.
  • For students in these programs: No restriction.
  • Eligible roles: Students will be immersed in technology in a manner that is relevant to their field of study.
  • COVID-19 update: This funding may be stacked with other, non-federal funding (such as the BC Tech Co-op Grant) such that the total grant amount covers up to $10,000 of the student's salary. The combined value of grants cannot exceed the student's salary. See other types of funding here.
  • Contact and application information:

Mining

Mining Industry Human Resources Council – Gearing Up Program

  • For employers in these sectors: Mining sector.
  • For students in these programs: Science, technology, engineering or math (STEM), or business.
  • Eligible roles: No restriction.
  • COVID-19 update: This funding may be stacked with other, non-federal funding (such as the BC Tech Co-op Grant) such that the total grant amount covers up to $10,000 of the student's salary. The combined value of grants cannot exceed the student's salary. See other types of funding here.
  • Contact and application information:

Learn about options for upcoming work terms

Over the summer term, UVic Co-op implemented some short-term policies to help students and employers continue to participate in co-op during this initial period of response to COVID-19.

For fall 2020 work terms (work terms taking place from September to December 2020), co-op work term requirements will revert to the standard co-op requirement of 12 weeks of full-time paid work at 35 hours/week, for a total of 420 hours.

In instances where full-time work or 12 weeks of work is not a possibility, concessions will be considered on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the specific co-op program. Contact your coordinator to discuss your potential job or job offer.

Employers located outside Canada

As an international employer, you may continue to hire UVic co-op students to complete co-op work terms through a remote setup.

University-sanctioned international travel, including to the US, continues to be suspended for fall 2020, following guidance by British Columbia's provincial health officer. This includes travel related to co-op work terms.

UVic students who have returned home to countries outside of Canada may complete co-op work terms in these countries, depending on those countries’ regulations around COVID-19.

Set up students for productive remote work

Many organizations are shifting to remote work arrangements in response to COVID-19, including setting up co-op students to work from home.

We recognize that working remotely is new for many employers as well as students, so we've put together some tips to support you.

1) Provide students with the necessary tools to do their job

Make sure students have the proper technology to do their daily work. This will include:

  • appropriate computer hardware
  • appropriate software
  • VPN access to the appropriate shared servers - and how to set this up
  • tele/videoconferencing software that your organization is using keep in touch (e.g., Outlook, Skype for Business or Skype, Zoom, Slack, WebEx, etc) - and how to set this up

In addition, make sure that students have:

  • strong, reliable WiFi - chat with the student about their WiFi setup to ensure it will allow them to connect with your team (note: students may not have WiFi at home - if this is the case, your organization may wish to explore supporting this during the work-from-home period)
  • access to appropriate policy or training documents
  • an understanding of your organization's security protocols around accessing/sharing files
  • necessary tools and office supplies (if students have to purchase these directly, be clear on how they can claim these expenses)

Resources to support this:

2) Communicate clearly and regularly

As organizations continue to adapt in response to COVID-19, it's important to keep all staff, including co-op students, in the loop. This can include:

  • being clear about changing protocols, processes and guidelines
  • sharing relevant updates from your organization
  • making sure students understand what is expected of them
  • designating a contact person that students can contact if they have questions or need support

Resources to support this:

3) Be clear about your organization's work-from-home expectations

Working from home presents unique challenges. Students are likely sharing the space with friends or family members and may not have a dedicated office space. Remote work can impact work flow and productivity so be clear about what's expected and what support is available, including:

  • whether students should be working their regular hours, or if there is flexibility
  • how, and if, students should track their hours
  • students' goals and deadlines
  • who students can ask for support
  • how review and approval process may have been adjusted during this time
  • how students should report on their progress and share information with the team
  • expectations for students' availability and productivity

Resources to support this:

4) Stay connected

Working remotely during COVID-19 can be isolating, especially if the student lives alone. Make sure to keep students informed and connected to the team. Include students on relevant email updates and check-ins from your organization so that they stay in the loop.

Students' supervisors are also encouraged to schedule short daily video conference check-ins with the student. These check-ins can be both social and productive and are a great way to boost morale.

Other ways for organizations to stay connected include:

  • use video conferencing whenever possible, in addition to email
  • include students on larger team update meetings
  • assign a buddy or mentor who is not the student's supervisor to check in once a week
  • share updates whenever possible

Resources to support this:

5) Re-prioritize projects based on what can be done remotely

If you're shifting suddenly to a remote work setup, review the student's current task list and identify what projects can be done remotely.

Adjust projects that can't be done remotely, and assign new tasks as necessary. This could be an opportunity to have the student tackle a research project, to compile training documents, to take advantage of online training opportunities, or to tackle other projects that have been lower on the priority list.

This might also mean re-evaluating your organization's expectations about what can been done in a certain period - deadlines might need to shift with this new work setup.

Download COVID-19 resources

These resources will help you prepare for a successful work term during COVID-19.

UVic resources - remote work onboarding and more

Here are the resources that UVic has put together for employers during this time:

UVic's Gustavson School of Business is hosting a webinar series called "Uncharted waters" in response to COVID-19 to cover topics that you may find useful in your business and personal efforts.

WorkSafe BC resources related to COVID-19

Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada) resources

  • Tips for working at home (PDF or JPG)
  • Tips for onboarding students remotely (PDF or JPG)
  • Tips for supervising students remotely (PDF or JPG)

Health and safety related to COVID-19

Changes to the work setup in response to COVID-19

If you are temporarily shutting down your workplace but are asking staff to continue to work from home, explore options to enable the co-op student(s) to work remotely. Let the co-op student know how this change could affect their schedule, and loop in the co-op coordinator.

See the resources above to support co-op students who are working remotely.

 

Workplace closure due to COVID-19

If your workplace is shutting down but not asking employees to work remotely, contact your co-op coordinator—we'll work with you to find the best possible solution. Let the co-op student know how a closure could affect their pay and schedule. 

Supporting co-op students who become ill

If the co-op student(s) working for your organization becomes sick, please inform the student(s) about your organization’s sick leave policies around COVID-19, and let their co-op coordinator know. Make sure the co-op student(s) has the appropriate resources and support from your organization.

Advise students to monitor themselves and those close to them for symptoms similar to the flu or common cold such as coughing, sneezing, sore throat, fever or difficulty breathing. If any symptoms arise, they should connect with their primary health care provider, local public heath office or call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 . The HealthLinkBC 8-1-1 service is available in several languages, including Mandarin and Cantonese.

COVID-19 cases in the workplace

If there is a presumed or confirmed case of COVID-19 in your workplace, let the co-op student(s) about this development and give them information about next steps for your organization. Keep your co-op coordinator updated.

Please reach out and contact your co-op coordinator if you have questions.