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Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy

Archived Backgrounder

Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy

Ministry of Colleges and Universities

The Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy is investing $295 million over two years to help connect 30,000 youth with the tools, experiences and entrepreneurial support they need to find employment or start their own businesses. The Youth Jobs Strategy was initially introduced in the 2013 Ontario Budget.

The strategy is helping people reach their potential in four ways:

  • Creating job opportunities for more than 25,000 youth across Ontario through the Youth Employment Fund ($195 million).
  • Tapping into postsecondary talent to drive industry R&D and business growth, while building students' career skills, through the Youth Innovation Fund ($30 million).


The fund is providing $195 million to help eligible unemployed youth between the ages of 15 to 29 find work. The Youth Employment Fund recently surpassed its two-year, 25,000 jobs target, having provided four- to-six-month job placements to 26, 582 youth. It has a targeted focus on youth facing multiple barriers to employment, including Aboriginal youth, recent immigrants and visible minorities, youth with disabilities, rural and northern youth, and youth leaving care or on social assistance.


This fund supports projects that bring together industry, educators and not-for-profit organizations to address skills shortages and provide long-term jobs for Ontario youth.

Youth Skills Connections has invested over $13 million to date in support of 51 projects delivered through partner organizations, which will train 3,000 youth and provide more than 2,400 job opportunities.

The program's industry stream addresses skills and labour gaps identified by industry. Its community stream provides skills training to youth who face multiple barriers to employment.


Projects under the Ontario Youth Innovation Fund let industry tap into world-class R&D, while giving graduate students and postgraduate fellows experience with cutting-edge companies.

This fund supports two programs:

  • TalentEdge ($10 million) - Providing graduate internships and post-doctoral fellowships to people under the age of 29. As of November 2014, 255 internships and 17 PhD fellowships have been approved.
  • Campus-Linked Accelerators (CLA) ($20 million*) and On Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) ($5 million) - Invests in entrepreneurship hubs on postsecondary campuses to help institutions program entrepreneurship activities, provide access to tools and equipment, deliver training, mentoring and start-up funding, and connect young entrepreneurs with investors. Almost all postsecondary institutions across Ontario now have on-campus entrepreneurship programs (42 out of 44 institutions).


Ontario's Youth Entrepreneurship Fund offers awareness, training, mentoring and support so youth can feel prepared and confident about launching a start-up.

Programs for Students

  • High School Outreach ($5 million) - Funding for organizations that can inspire high school students to become entrepreneurs and get them started.
  • Summer Company ($2 million expansion funding) - Helps students launch a new summer business, with advice, mentorship and start-up money to help them succeed. Summer Company launched more than 660 student-led businesses in 2013 and 940 student-led businesses in 2014.

Starting a Business

  • Starter Company ($9 million) - Helps youth launch full-time storefront businesses in their communities.
  • Strategic Community Entrepreneurship Project ($6 million) - Funding for not-for-profits that can help youth facing barriers to employment start their own businesses.

Growing a Business

  • Youth Business Acceleration Program ($7 million) - Helping youth develop technology businesses, with the help of mentors, market intelligence and targeted grants.
  • Youth Investment Accelerator Fund ($7 million) - Provides seed funding to help youth bring new technologies to market.
  • SmartStart Seed Fund ($9 million) - Supports entrepreneurial postsecondary students and recent graduates between the ages of 18 to 29 to launch and build their companies.

*Includes a $5 million prior investment.

Media Contacts



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