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Ontario Helping Students to Gain Hands-On Job Experience

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Ontario Helping Students to Gain Hands-On Job Experience

New Fund Drives Collaboration between Colleges and Businesses

Office of the Premier

Ontario is helping students apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world challenges through a new fund that supports research and development projects.

Premier Kathleen Wynne was at Conestoga College in Kitchener today to highlight how the new Colleges Applied Research and Development Fund (CARDF) will benefit students, colleges and businesses.

The fund will:

  • Allow students to work on applied research and development projects at Ontario companies and gain hands-on work experience in their field
  • Connect colleges with businesses, industry associations and organizations to develop new partnerships and solve real-world R&D challenges, such as adapting new technologies
  • Create opportunities for students to act as consultants to companies, while receiving faculty mentorship and integrating these projects with their academic courses.

This will help ensure that the skills students learn in the classroom match the jobs that employers are looking to fill. The fund will allow start-ups and businesses of all sizes to partner with colleges to tackle their R&D challenges and launch innovative new products and services. It will also strengthen Ontario's highly skilled, market-ready workforce, which is a key driver in attracting investment to Ontario.

Helping students succeed in the innovation economy is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and support people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • CARDF is an investment of $20 million over three years. It allows businesses to access provincial and federal funding for industry-academic R&D collaborations under a single, streamlined review process.
  • Ontario Centres of Excellence will administer the fund.
  • CARDF is part of Ontario’s Business Growth Initiative, a $400-million strategy that is growing the economy and creating jobs by promoting an innovation-based economy, helping small companies scale-up and modernizing regulations for businesses.
  • Ontario’s colleges and universities offer more than 200 co-operative education programs in the information communications and technology fields.
  • Each year, more than 10,000 students work with more than 750 companies on research and development activities across Ontario.

Additional Resources


“As Premier, it is my job to make sure that students in Ontario are prepared for today’s economy and job market. By increasing access to experiential learning opportunities, where students can solve real-world challenges, we are giving them the tools they need to thrive in the workforce.”

Kathleen Wynne

Premier of Ontario

“Applied research and development has a broad economic benefit in Canada and Ontario. It is vital we invest in applied research to create opportunities for students and industry to work collaboratively. This will help our innovation economy thrive and compete in the global race.”

Reza Moridi

Minister of Research, Innovation and Science

“This new fund will encourage public-private partnership between colleges and Ontario businesses that will drive innovation, research and development. It will also provide unique experiential learning opportunities for college students that will allow them to build the skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

Deb Matthews

Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development

“The Colleges Applied R&D Fund is a great addition to Ontario’s innovation ecosystem, and one that will directly support experiential learning for college students while connecting them to the needs of the industries and economies of the future. Aligning college-based expertise with the challenges facing Ontario companies will help Ontario generate high-value jobs and support its competitiveness around the globe.”

Tom Corr

President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence

“This investment will provide new opportunities for students at Conestoga and Ontario’s other colleges to apply their skills and gain real-world experience as they prepare for successful careers. Applied research funded through this program will also contribute to the prosperity of our communities by supporting more businesses in their efforts to innovate, improve and compete in the global market.”

Dr. John Tibbits

President, Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning



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