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Canada continued the highest sustained level of immigration in Canadian history in 2012

Ottawa is launching a new work-placement program for post-secondary students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and business that includes extra incentives for underrepresented groups.

Companies in these fields that provide placements for first-year students, women, Indigenous students, people with disabilities and new immigrants will be eligible for wage subsidies of up to 70 per cent or $7,000. All other student placements will be eligible for funding of up to 50 per cent of the wage, or $5,000.

The $73-million program was first announced in the 2016 federal budget but was officially launched Monday by Employment Minister Patty Hajdu. It is now up to postsecondary institutions to finalize details with private-sector companies on specific placements.

Ottawa says the program will create 60,000 student work placements over five years.

In an interview, Ms. Hajdu said the federal government is looking at other ways to have employment programs target underrepresented segments of the work force. She noted that it’s a theme that Canada is carrying into the North American free-trade negotiations as Canada pushes for chapters on gender rights and Indigenous people.

Ms. Hajdu said it’s an approach that helps workers and the economy but can also save governments money in terms of social-safety-net spending.

“When you don’t truly maximize people’s true potential, then, in fact, not only do you miss out on that growth potential, but you also cost governments at all levels an extraordinary amount of money to take care of people who have been left behind,” she said. “We often don’t calculate those costs.”

Government officials are currently working on an update of the broader federal youth-employment strategy, and Ms. Hajdu said she expects to be presented with policy options in the fall.

Read the full article at The Globe and Mail site here

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