Working Students, Building Futures

Improving and expanding work-integrated learning.

To stay competitive in the wake of COVID-19, Canadian businesses will need talent with practical experience and future-relevant skills.

One of the most promising ways to build that talent is by expanding access to work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities:

  • internships
  • co-ops
  • apprenticeships
  • bootcamps and hackathons
  • incubators and accelerators
  • mandatory professional practices
  • applied research programs
  • service learning
  • field experience

In partnership with:

Who attended?

We spoke to 620  WIL stakeholders from across Canada. Through 44 group consultations, 23 individual consultations, and a series of 14 virtual stakeholder meetings, we engaged business owners, senior executives, and supervisors in the private, public, not-for-profit, and academic sectors.

Sector Breakdown on Virtual Stakeholder Meetings

(per cent)

Private 12% Public 23% Not−for−profit 27% Academia 37%

Regional Participation in Virtual Stakeholder Meetings

(per cent)

N.S. 8% N.B. 6% N.L. 5% P.E.I. 3% Ont. 18% Que. 8% Sask. 11% Man. 4% Alta. 14% B.C. 13% Nun. 1% Y.T. 2% N.W.T. 2% Canada-wide 5%

Industry Participation in Virtual Stakeholder Meetings

(per cent)

Construction 7% Manufacturing 2% Finance and insurance 4% Professional, scientific and tech. services 6% Administrative and support 1% Educational services 54% Health care and social assistance 2% Arts, entertainment and recreation 2% Public admin. 8% Other 9% Unknown 4%

What we heard

During the summer of 2020, we spoke to industry and education stakeholders from across Canada to better understand the barriers that employers and students face in creating or accessing work-integrated learning, particularly in the wake of COVID-19. We were looking for ways to increase the number and quality of WIL placement opportunities. This is what we heard.

Atlantic Canada

June 25, 2020  |  Virtual event

British Columbia

July 22, 2020  |  Virtual event

Central Canada

July 15 (ON) and July 29 (QC), 2020  |  Virtual event


July 14, 2020  |  Virtual event


July 28, 2020  |  Virtual event

The impact

Thanks to input from our stakeholders, the Business + Higher Education Roundtable will be able to expand WIL opportunities and ensure that Canada’s businesses are creating quality experiences for students across the country.

Convening partners

We would like to thank our 13 convening partners for their hard work engaging WIL stakeholders in their networks and regions.

Canadian Construction Association logo
Calgary Econommic Development logo
Centre for Employment Innovation logo
Concordia logo
CPQ logo
Future NP logo
NL Workforce Innovation Centre logo
NWT and Nunavut Construction Association logo
Ontario Electrical League logo
Riipen logo
Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce logo
Support Onatrio Youth logo
Toronto Finance International/Aspire logo

In partnership with:

Toronto Metropolitan University
The Conference Board of Canada
Funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program