Hire a college intern and get up to $5,000 in funding

Here’s how to take advantage of this win-win opportunity

If your company is looking for assistance you might want to consider hiring an intern from a college or university co-op program, as the federal government offers funding for giving these students valuable on-the-job work experience. Post-secondary co-op programs require that the student get practical experience in their field of study to complete their degree. Paid internships are a win-win situation for both parties – the student gets valuable work experience and receives credits from the college or university for their work placement, and the employer gets the assistance they need at a reduced cost.

If you are interested in using student interns you must provide the student with a job placement in their field in order to qualify for funding. For example qualifying job positions for a a Business co-op student include working in an accounting department assisting with clerical work, or an Internet marketing position assisting with website design or email campaigns, or an inside sales position since it relates to their field of study. The Business co-op student would not receive college or university credit working in a warehouse packaging products for shipping, or operating a digital printing machine, since this job experience is not related to their field of study.

Which students qualify?

Not every post-secondary intern qualifies for funding. If you find an intern that you are interested in hiring, you should contact the college or university they attend to make sure that you will receive funding for paying the student during the internship.

If a student qualifies for funding, once they begin their internship they will provide you with a Letter of Certification that you will need to support your claim.

The Letter of Certification must contain:

  • the name of the student
  • the name of the employer
  • the name of the educational institution
  • the start date and end date of their work placement
  • the name/discipline of the qualifying co-operative education program

If you are looking to hire a post-secondary co-op student here is a list of some of the colleges and universities in Ontario that offer Internships that qualify for funding:


  • Centennial
  • Fawshawe
  • Niagara
  • Seneca


  • McMaster
  • Ryerson
  • Waterloo
  • Wilfred Laurier

Employment requirements

In order for the Internship to be a qualifying work placement, the work placement must meet all of the following conditions:

  • the student must perform employment duties related to their field of study
  • the work internship must be pre-approved by the student’s school

the internship must be for a period of at least ten consecutive weeks, except in the case of an internship program, where the placement cannot be less than eight consecutive months and not more than 16 consecutive months

  • the company must agree to supervise and evaluate the job performance of the student
  • the school must monitor the student’s performance in the placement
  • the school  must certify the internship as a qualifying work internship
  • the student must be paid for the work performed

What amount of government funding could I qualify for?

If you hire a college or university intern, your company qualifies for two types of funding:

Co-operative education tax credit – The credit is equal to an eligible percentage (25% to 30%) of the eligible expenditures incurred by the corporation for a qualifying work placement. The maximum credit for each qualifying work placement is $3,000. A company can hire multiple interns at once, and qualify for funding for each intern.

Also, if your company has hired and paid a qualifying post-secondary intern within the last three years, your company may apply for the tax credit retroactively.

Hiring Grant  – In addition to the tax credit, an Employer may apply for a Hiring Grant for hiring summer students. The Hiring Grant only applies for the period of May 1st to August 31st. Employers need to apply to for the Hiring Grant in March in order to receive funding.


Bonny Koabel CPA, CGA is President of AKR Consulting Canada a Mississauga, ON firm specializing in Government Grants, Subsidies, Tax Credits, Refunds and Rebates since 2003.