Top 5 Government Funding Programs for Hiring and Training

Alena Barreca

A business is truly only as strong as its team. This is why small businesses in Canada must be aware that there is a wide selection of Canadian government grants for hiring and training to offset the costs of onboarding new employees. These grants can help increase and enhance an organization’s talent pool while also connecting applicants with meaningful opportunities.

These selected government funding programs for hiring and training can aid organizations to hire or retrain staff, improve their effectiveness, and upskill their staff in new areas such as advanced technologies or operational processes. 

1. Career-Ready with CTMA: Expanding Opportunities

The Career-Ready with CTMA: Expanding Opportunities program, administered by the Canadian Tooling & Machine Association (CTMA) and Mentor Works, offers non-repayable contributions to eligible employers. The contributions are designed to subsidize wages for new hires or to support the upskilling of existing employees that meet the program eligibility. Funding available for this program may be 30% of wages paid to a maximum of $3,000 for each Experiential Work Placement (EWP).

  • Funding Amount: Up to 30% of wages paid for a candidate to a maximum of $3,000 per 10–16-week placement. This program may support up to 12 candidates per employer with a maximum of three placements per candidate. Placements must be completed on or before March 31, 2022.
  • Applicant Eligibility: Organizations licensed to operate and provide training in Ontario. This initiative aims to support employers who are building a talent pipeline by introducing participants to careers in the precision metalworking sector.

2. Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ)

The Canadian government allocates the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program via a grant that helps employers provide career-related, real-life work experience for young employees. The experiences gained through funded placements should help young Canadians develop skills and earn paid work experience which will foster prosperity in today’s workforce:

  • Funding Amount: Public and private sector employers may receive hiring grants up to 50% of the employee’s minimum hourly rate. Non-profit organizations may receive grants up to 100% of minimum wage plus Mandatory Employment Related Costs (MERCs). The amount is capped at $300,000 per employer/province or territory for a maximum of 40 hours/week/employee.
  • Applicant Eligibility: Any businesses, non-profits, and public sector employers with 50 or fewer employees. Hired positions must be full-time (30+ hours/week) and span 6–16 weeks. 

3. Ontario Manufacturing Training Program (OMTP)

The Ontario Manufacturing Training Program (OMTP) helps organizations adapt to new technologies, processes, or procedures, or a drastic change within the company. This support for innovation and retooling may provide new production lines for productivity output. Training through OMTP must be linked to domestic supply chain improvements or competitive enhancements, such as expanding into new or enhanced domestic markets.

  • Funding Amount: Successful applicants may access up to 25–50% of costs to a maximum of $100,000 per application.
  • Applicant Eligibility: Ontario manufacturers may be eligible if they have 10–1000 employees.

4. IRAP Youth Employment Program (YEP)

The Youth Employment Program (YEP) is designed to assist in hiring and training young Canadian post-secondary graduates. A graduate can be selected for funding based on most areas such as business development, technical advancement, customer service, or administration. To get started, businesses should contact the National Research Council’s (NRC) Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).

  • Funding Amount: Provides up to $30,000 per graduate (up to two) for a period of 6 to 12 months.
  • Applicant Eligibility: Incorporated and financially stable Canadian business with 1–500 employees; they must find graduates before applying. Candidates must be between 15 to 30 years old.

5. Mitacs Accelerate Program

The Mitacs Accelerate funding program pairs small businesses with talented applicants who have a Masters, PhD, or postdoctoral fellowship (PDF) to overcome innovation challenges. Eligible interns complete research and develop tools, models, technology, or solutions to support the small business’ challenges.

  • Funding Amount: The program provides support up to $15,000 for each four- to six-month internship with a financial contribution of $7,500 from the partnering organization. The cluster stream is available for additional funding support if the business leverages 6+ internship periods from 3+ interns. Funding includes an intern stipend and research costs.
  • Applicant Eligibility: Incorporated, for-profit businesses and select non-profits across Canada. All industries and sectors are supported; preference is given to research and development projects in innovation.

Depending on when you’re reading this article, a funding program listed below may or may not be open. View the Hiring & Training Page to find the most up-to-date programs.

Alena Barreca is a Marketing and Social Media Coordinator at Mentor Works. Alena enjoys using her creative and analytical mind to assist Canadian businesses in receiving grants and loans to support their needs. Alena graduated from Brock University with a BA in Media and Business Communications, and Mohawk College with a Post-Graduate Degree in Public Relations.

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