Empowering Futures for Employers

The Empowering Futures Program is Canada’s Student Work Placement Program for the electricity industry. Aimed at preparing students for the future of work, the program will create new work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities in electricity by providing subsidies of up to $7,500 per student position to the employers who create these new opportunities.

COVID-19 Update

Empowering Futures continues to provide wage subsidies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following changes are intended to facilitate flexibility for employers and are effective as of April 7, 2020 until May 31, 2021:

  • Post-secondary institutions (universities, colleges, and polytechnics) are now eligible to apply as employers, regardless of the field or placement nature.
  • Employers (including educators) can now apply to be pre-approved for funding before finalizing the hiring process.
  • When possible, students can complete a work placement remotely.

New measures announced May 26:

  • The “net new” requirement has been removed. Any student position may be considered for funding, not just new roles or more students than previous terms.
  • All placements are now eligible for a 75% subsidy, up to $7,500 per placement.

EHRC is committed to working with employers through this time. For any questions about these changes or current placements, please reach out directly to Sarah Jourson, Program Coordinator, at jourson@electricityhr.ca.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility is dependent on the participant, employer (organization-wide) and nature of employment.

Participant Eligibility

Participants are eligible if they meet the following criteria:

  • They are registered as a full-time or part-time student in a post secondary institution.
  • They are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person with refugee protection in Canada.
  • They are legally able to work in Canada according to the laws and regulations of the province or territory where you live.

Employer Eligibility

Employers are eligible if they meet the following criteria:

  • 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.
  • Post-secondary institutions (universities, colleges or polytechnics).

Employment Eligibility

Employment is eligible if it meets the following criteria:

  • The wages for this position must not be funded by another federally funded program.
  • The company must provide a full or part-time work opportunity for a student in post-secondary education, enrolled in a science, technology, engineering, mathematics, arts, or business program.
  • The wage subsidy covers the cost of a co-op student’s salary by up to 75% to a maximum of $7,500.
  • The company must provide a minimum of $1 for each $3 of wage subsidy.
  • The company must not recruit and retain friends or family members as participants to the co-op wage subsidy program, or have a sufficient nepotism policy in place.
  • The company must reference the participant application form to inform potential participants what their involvement in the co-op wage subsidy program will entail.
  • The company must provide proof of co-op placement employment, start date, contract with participant, full wage, and benefits of the participant to EHRC upon request.
  • The company must provide information about the placement to Electricity Human Resources Canada as required.
  • The company must develop a Formal Learning Plan with the participant, before the start of the placement.
  • The company must provide EHRC with monthly financial claims and progress reports.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are an employer wondering if Empowering Futures is right for your company, consider the following information:

Why Empowering Futures?

  • Offset risk by subsidizing costs.
  • Try out a new prospective worker before hiring.
  • Build your talent pipeline and the  future workforce.

What is a work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunity?

A work-integrated learning opportunity is any placement including co-ops, internships, placements, applied projects, capstone projects or case competitions. These placements are provided to students looking to gain field experience. Empowering Futures can fund co-ops, internships and work placements with ties to the students’ studies.

What is the Student Work Placement Program?

The Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) brings industry stakeholders together to create new work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities for students who will be better positioned to secure employment in their field of study.

What are the project objectives?

Empowering Futures will create new WIL opportunities in electricity by providing wage subsidies up to $7,500 to employers who create new WIL opportunities. The goal of the program is to help young Canadians make the transition from school to work through collaborative partnerships between the Canadian employers and post-secondary institutions. EHRC is proposing to strengthen research, development and innovation partnerships between these stakeholders to ensure that the curricula being delivered aligns with the needs of the sector.

How will this shape the future?

An steering committee of committed stakeholders from industry and academia is advising, guiding, participating in, and assessing project activities. They are validating findings, assisting with stakeholder engagement, and determining how the findings can be best used to increase the participation of employers and educational institutions across Canada. Information is collected and shared with industry partners and post-secondary institutions to ensure program sustainability.

What is the value for employers?

Empowering Futures makes getting involved in preparing the sector’s future workforce more rewarding. The program’s co-op wage subsidies help your organization minimize the financial barrier of hiring students and it covers the cost of a co-op student’s salary for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, arts or business placements.

Process Overview

Employers participating in the program will follow this process:

  1. Check eligibility requirements and terms & conditions (above)
  2. Complete the Employer Eligibility Assessment
  3. Have the participant complete the Participant Application Form
  4. Get approved (takes an average of 5-10 business days)
  5. Create a learning plan
  6. Set up direct deposit
  7. Begin program
  8. EHRC will email you when your monthly report and claim is due
  9. Send claims on a monthly basis
  10. Complete the Employer Reflection as the student’s placement contract nears completion.

Contact Us

If you have additional questions about Empowering Futures, you can contact us at the following:

Sarah Jourson, Empowering Futures Project Coordinator
t 613.235.5540 ext. 229

Resources & Additional Information

Empowering Futures: Program Overview
Empowering Futures: How-To Guide
Empowering Futures: Professional Skills Inforgraphic
Empowering Futures: Industry Factsheet
Email Template to Participating Students

Employer Testimonials

Empowering Futures helps employers across Canada source new talent and bring fresh perspectives to their workplaces. Hear from fellow employers about how Empowering Futures is helping them.

Eric, CIO at Spark Power

Jon, Field Manager at Hydro One

Nirav, HR Director at Ontario Power Generation

Nicole, Senior Manager, HR Corporate Services at Nalcor Energy

The Student Work Placement Program (SWPP)