Work-Integrated Learning: Getting to 100%

We are living in rapidly changing times. The pace of innovation, disruptive new technologies and rising global competition for talent mean that today’s graduates are entering a labour market dramatically different from the one that awaited previous generations of Canadians. With career trajectories less linear, and jobs requiring a very different mix of skills, Canada needs a fresh approach to meeting the challenges that exist at the intersection of business, education and employment.

In 2015, the Business + Higher Education Roundtable set a bold target: for 100 per cent of undergraduate students to have access to some kind of WIL prior to graduation.

Since then, BHER continues to work alongside our partners to make this vision a reality, fostering a number of sector-specific WIL initiatives.

BHER’s model works in stages:

  1. Identify sectors challenged by changing skill requirements/skills gaps.
  2. Support sector-specific CEO champions in driving initiatives and collaborative partnerships.
  3. Identify third-party groups – often industry associations – able to take on program development, design and the implementation of the pilots.
  4. Facilitate connections between industry members and partners, (e.g. educational institutions, SMEs, and government), able to participate in and support the program.
  5. Highlight best-practices, including the development of evaluation frameworks.
  6. Support implementation efforts and communicate success.

Beyond this, we champion and support WIL programs across all other industries. Visit WiL in Action to see examples of programs across the country.

ASPIRE (Financial Services)

CEO Champion: Dave McKay, President and CEO, RBC

Goal: 10,000 new placements in the financial services by 2020

Sector Partner: The Toronto Financial Services Alliance


  • 15 employer partners
  • 30 post-secondary education partners
  • Designed and delivered the first sector roadshow in January 2018
  • Ongoing professional development and networking opportunities.
  • $2.1 million in federal funding

Visit ASPIRE's website to get involved and learn more.

Gearing Up (Mining)

CEO Champions: Tom Gitzel, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cameco Corporation and Don Lindsay, President and Chief Executive Officer, Teck Resources Limited.

Goal: 1000 new placements in mining by 2020

Sector partner: The Mining Industry Human Resources Council


  • Accepting employer applications.
  • Hosting a 2-day Virtual Career Fair, with approx. 12 mining companies and a few hundred students registered.
  • Developing training materials to help managers transition to working with work-integrated learning students.
  • Attending numerous industry events to increase # of companies participating.
  • Total federal commitment is $7.8 million for 850 WILs over 4 years
  • The consortium has 60+ members made up of both companies and PSEs

Visit Gearing Up's website to learn more and get involved.


CEO Champions: Marc Parent, President and Chief Executive Officer, CAE

Goal: Create an additional 10,000 WIL opportunities in the Mobility and Aerospace sector.

Sector partner: Canadian Mobility and Aerospace Insitute


  •  17 supporting organizations
    • Partners currently support over 600 High-Quality Statement of Work (project based) work integrated learning opportunities with 7 PSE institutions in Quebec.
    •  1600+  co-op + internship opportunities have taken place in the last year between the 5 early hour partners.
WIL for Innovative Atlantic SMEs project [Entrepreneurship]

Goal: 500+ student placements in Atlantic-based startups

Sector partner: Venture for Canada


·       $4.4 million in federal funding committed

·       VFC does work with over 300 innovative SMEs through our different programs.

·       Over 90% of VFC Fellows / partner employers are satisfied with their participation in the current VFC Fellowship program

Advanced manufacturing

Sector champion: Linda Hasenfratz, President and CEO, Linamar Corporation

Goal: 10,000 new placements in advanced manufacturing

Sector Partner: Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters


  • Established goals and deliverables
  • Established working group of representatives from 40 potential industry participants

CEO Champions: David Filipchuk, President and Chief Executive Officer, PCL Constructors Inc.

Goal: TBD

  • Sector partner: Canadian Construction Innovations

Progress: More updates forthcoming