Grow Your Team: New Government Program Subsidizes Hiring of Young Workers

Ontario’s youth employment is now among the worst in Canada at 16%-17% for Ontario youth between the ages of 15 and 24. To help address the issue, the Ontario government has introduced an innovative program geared towards supporting businesses and helping youth enter the job market and receive vital work experience and training.

The Youth Employment Program (YEP) offered by the National Research Council of Canada, and administered through Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) helps subsidize wages and training costs of young workers. Small and medium sized business owners throughout Canada are encouraged to stimulate innovation and wealth creation by hiring qualified young Canadians from ages 15 to 30.

The major benefit to the program is the financial assistance business owners receive. The government will subsidize up to $20,000 of their wages, which business owners do not have to reimburse.

On top of the immediate benefit of financial assistance, there are other proven benefits of hiring new graduates which include their flexibility and ability to adapt. Young workers also have new ideas and perspectives that can help an organization see things in a different way, which can help spark innovation throughout the business.

As part of the YEP program, business owners are connected to a network of experts that can help them further develop their business including setting up partnerships with suppliers, customers, and investors.

These experts are located all throughout Canada, including 3 teams right here in the GTA, one at Seneca College in Markham, one at MaRS in downtown Toronto, and one in the Oakville Corporate Centre in Oakville. Business owners also gain from government resources Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada, to help improve their business’s visibility, make sure they are following proper regulations, and get answers to questions about their industry.


Your business is eligible for financial assistance from the Youth Employment Program if you are:

  • incorporated
  • for-profit
  • have 500 or less full-time equivalents
  • willing to establish a trusting relationship with IRAP


As for the eligibility of the employee, they must be:

  • a graduate from a post-secondary institution
  • be between the ages of 15 and 30
  • be legally entitled to work in your province
  • be a first time participant of YEP

To apply for the Youth Employment Program, visit their website or call 1-877-994-4727 for more information about the eligibility of your organizations and your potential new employee.

The Youth Employment Program is administered by several government-funded agencies. Two local GTA ones you can consider working with are MentorWorks and JobStart, who will have more information on how to directly apply to the Youth Employment Program.

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