Empowering Futures for Students

Fill critical labour gaps with wage subsidies, financial incentives, and additional supports for employers who create new work integrated learning opportunities for students and apprentices.

Learn more: Empowering Futures at a glance

Electricity Human Resources Canada’s (EHRC) Empowering Futures Program is Canada’s student and first-year apprentice work placement initiative for the electricity industry, providing financial incentives of up to $10,000 to employers who create new Work Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities. With these incentives, employers can offer more WIL opportunities, building their talent pool and strengthening our industry’s workforce.

Apply via Funding for Futures

Eligibility Requirements


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

Employer Organization Eligibility

Employers Organizations 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.

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 they live.

Employment Eligibility

Net New Rule:

  • We are returning to “net new” criteria as of April 1, 2022. To show the impact of this funding program, EHRC is required to track the number of students an employer hired in the past, before they receive EHRC Empowering Futures funding.
  • Approval will be granted for positions that are deemed greater in number than the fiscal year (April to March) before a given employer entered the program for the first time. This will be defined as the baseline number of students hired and only students hired in greater numbers will be eligible for funding.
  • The same student will not be eligible for multiple rounds of funding for the same type of employment with the same employer (ex. Jane Doe was hired as a Marketing Coordinator at Employer X for Summer 2022 and Fall 2022. Employer X can only apply and be approved for funding for ONE of these semesters).

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 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 placements must be meaningful work-integrated learning opportunities for the students. As such, they should be generally at least 12 weeks long (exceptions can be discussed).
  • Placements must not be longer than one year.

Subsidy Reimbursement for students

  • The standard subsidy reimbursement is 50% of the student’s gross paystubs, up to a maximum of $5,000.00 per placement
  • The increased subsidy reimbursement is 70% of the student’s gross paystubs, up to a maximum of $7,000.00 per placement. Those eligible for increased subsidies are: 
    • First year students
    • Women in STEM
    • Newcomers to Canada
    • Persons with Disabilities
    • Indigenous Peoples
  •  Post-Secondary institutions are no longer eligible to receive funding.

Additional Considerations:

  • 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 for each  student.


Contact Us

If you have additional questions about Empowering Futures, you can contact us at the following Yoana Turnin, Project Manager t 613.235.5540 ext. 243 turnin@electricityhr.ca 



CEWIL & EHRC: Empowering Futures

Watch a webinar from EHRC’s Director of Programs that explains in depth how Empowering Futures works.

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How Empowering Futures Supports Organizations and Students

Professional Skills Training Program

While technical and specialized knowledge is foundational for career success in electricity, organizations are also looking for candidates who demonstrate a high level of proficiency in professional skills. Professional skills include active listening, social perceptiveness, and collaboration. Take time to take stock of your professional skills while job searching with EHRC’s resources for developing and applying professional skills.

Learn More

Empowering the Next-Generation Workforce

Work-integrated learning (WIL) is an essential step to transition from school to work, and the best way to learn how to put education into practice. To show how WIL contributes to the talent pipeline and career growth in Canada’s electricity sector, we’ve published Empowering the Next-Generation Workforce, a thought paper informed by experts with practical recommendations on how we can increase WIL uptake and best prepare the next generation of electricity workers.

Learn More

Skill savvy

From the boardroom to the front line, careers in electricity take more than technical skills—they require professional skills: the ability to communicate, work together, and organize work effectively. To explain these skills and the value they have to any worker or organization, we’ve published Skill savvy. Based on research and international best practices, this paper identifies 10 professional skills that all electricity sector workers need, where they fall short, and how they can be fostered by educators and organizations through work-integrated learning.

Learn More

Empowering Futures Testimonials

We’ve collected stories from across Canada, from both organizations and students, about how Empowering Futures is building the workforce of tomorrow.

Organization Testimonials

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

Student Testimonials

Zoee, Electrical Engineering Student

Tristan, Nursing Student

Natalie, Chemical Engineering Student

Alyssa, Business Finance Student

Abine, Environmental Sciences Student

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are an organization or student wondering if Empowering Futures is right for you, consider the following information:

Student: Why Empowering Futures?

  • Gain experience before entering the workplace
  • Grow your confidence in your abilities
  • Build a professional network

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

A work-integrated learning opportunity is any placement including co-ops, internships, apprenticeship, 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 Apprenticeship Service?

The Government of Canada’s’ has established the Apprenticeship Service to encourage and support employers (small and medium-sized enterprises) to hire first-year apprentices, particularly from construction and manufacturing Red Seal trades across Canada. This will help first-year apprentices connect with employment opportunities at SMEs, giving them the hands-on experience and supports that are required to succeed in the skilled trades.

Student: 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.

Organizations: Why Empowering Futures?

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

Organizations: What are the project objectives?

Empowering Futures will create new WIL opportunities in electricity by providing wage subsidies or financial incentives up to $10,000 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.

Organizations: How will this shape the future?

A 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.

Organizations: 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 and financial incentives for first-year apprentices help your organization minimize the financial barrier of hiring students or apprentices and it covers the cost of a co-op student’s salary for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, arts or business placements, or a first-year apprentice in one of the 39 construction or manufacturing Red Seal trades.

Participating Organizations

ARC Engineering
AECOM Canada
ATCO Electricity
Alberta Electric System Operator
Blue-O Technology Inc.
Borealis Wind
Borrum Energy Solutions
Clir Renewables
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Excelitas Canada
e-ZN Inc
Electric Motor & Pump
Festival Hydro
Fortis Alberta
Fortis BC
Gbatteries Energy Canada Inc.
Gerrits Engineering
Goldfin Consulting
Great Northern Engineering Consultants
Hydro Ottawa
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hvGrid-tech Inc.
KPM Power Inc.
Keolis Grand River
Manitoba Hydro
Makermax Inc.
Northland Power
Northern Energy Capital
Noventa Energy Partners
Nalcor Energy
Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro
NB Power
Opus One Solutions
Vitesco Technologies
Prism Lighting Group
Pro Watts, Inc.
Process Research ORTECH Inc
QUEST Canada
Rainforest Automation
RB Engineering Ltd.
Riverside Energy Systems
Schneider Electric Solar Business
Solvest Inc.
Spark Power
Team Power Solutions
Transarctic Canada Inc.
University of Victoria
WSP Canada
Xantrex Canada

Participating Educators

Algonquin College
Brock University
Cambrian College
Carleton University
Cégep de Saint Hyachinthe
Centennial College
College of the North Atlantic
Conestoga College
Dalhousie University
Georgian College
Humber College
Langara College
Laurentian University
Legal Education Society of Alberta
McGill University
McMaster University
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Mount Allison University
Mount Royal University
Mount Saint Vincent University
New Brunswick Community College
Niagara College
Queen's University
Red River College
Ryerson University
Sheridan College
Simon Fraser University
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
St. Clair College
Université de Moncton
Université de Sherbrooke
Université Laval
University of Alberta
University of British Columbia
University of Calgary
University of Guelph
University of Lethbridge
University of Manitoba
University of New Brunswick
Ontario Tech
University of Ottawa
University of Saskatchewan
University of Toronto
University of Victoria
University of Waterloo
University of Western Ontario
University of Windsor
Wilfred Laurier University
York University
Yukon College

The Student Work Placement Program (SWPP)

The Student Work Placement Program gives post-secondary students across Canada paid work experience related to their field of study.

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program.