The Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) is excited to announce 21 new partnerships with post-secondary institutions and industry leaders that will engage students in work-integrated learning (WIL) across Canada. With support from the Government of Canada and RBC Future Launch, these partnerships will create nearly 16,000 new WIL experiences for students over the course of the 2021-2022 academic year.

“This collaborative work between the Business + Higher Education Roundtable and all its partners will lead to new and innovative ways to help post-secondary institutions and employers create quality opportunities for students across Canada,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

“Expanding Canada’s work-integrated learning ecosystem is fundamental to the success of our future leaders, and RBC is proud to support BHER in facilitating an additional 15,000 experiential-learning opportunities for students this academic year,” said Dave McKay, President and CEO, RBC. “Throughout the pandemic, young people have proven their adaptivity, creativity and resilience, and as we emerge from the pandemic, we must empower Canadian youth, equipping them with the skills needed to meet the demands of tomorrow’s workplace.”

BHER’s WIL partnership program is diversifying Canada’s WIL ecosystems. The partnerships announced today will: 

  • Increase the number of WIL experiences for students from equity-deserving communities;
  • Create WIL programs that meet the unique needs of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) students;  
  • Attract and retain international talent, and 
  • Engage students from rural, remote, and Northern communities.

“By building this network of partnerships and funding these WIL programs, BHER is creating new WIL capacity for a diverse group of students from across the country,” said Dr. Valerie Walker, Chief Executive Officer of BHER.  “We are thrilled to help employers and students connect and develop innovative solutions for the evolving skills and talent challenges of Canada’s economy.”

With today’s announcement, BHER has secured 42 WIL partnership agreements in total since 2019, with over 150 partners, across Canada. By making use of innovative forms of WIL, like micro-placements, these initiatives reduce barriers for equity-deserving students and for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The partnerships cut across multiple sectors of the economy, including health care, scientific, financial, and technical services, construction, accommodation, retail and food services, and agriculture.

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Media Contact: 
Tina Romito, Senior Manager, Communications
@email - 613-695-3511

About the Business + Higher Education Roundtable:
The Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization bringing together some of Canada’s largest companies and leading post-secondary institutions. Since 2015, BHER has worked to harness the strengths of Canada’s business and post-secondary education sectors to build opportunities for young Canadians, boost innovation and drive collaboration. Learn more at Check out our WIL Hub for ways to explore, invest in and create quality WIL opportunities.

About RBC Future Launch:
RBC Future Launch is the bank’s commitment to empowering Canadian youth for the jobs of tomorrow. RBC is dedicating $500 million to help young people access meaningful employment through practical work experience, skills development, networking and access to mental well-being supports and services. In 2020, RBC committed to providing $50 million in focused funding through RBC Future Launch to create meaningful and transformative pathways to prosperity for up to 25,000 BIPOC youth by 2025, with investments in areas such as skills development and mentoring. Learn more at

In Budget 2019, the Canadian Government proposed to provide the Business + Higher Education Roundtable with up to $17 million over three years, to help forge partnerships and create more work-integrated learning opportunities for young Canadians.

With funding from the Government of Canada logo
RBC Future Launch Logo




Connect with our new partners: 
Learn more about all of our partners at:

Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council
Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman, Communications & Stakeholder Engagement Specialist: @email 

Capilano University
Media Contacts:
Linda Munro, Senior Communications Officer: @email - 604-220-8937;

Carleton University
Media Contacts:
Tara Jackson, Manager, Communications: @email;
Steven Reid, Media Relations Officer: @email

The Chamber of Commerce of Greater Moncton
Media Contacts:
John Wishart, Chief Executive Officer: @email - 506-856-4000;

Concordia University
Media Contact:
Concordia University, Media Relations: @email - 514-848-2424, ext. 4880

George Brown College
Media Contacts:
Joy Callender, Senior Manager, External Communications: @email  - 647-988-0306;
Jodi Serwatuk, Senior Manager, Corporate and Executive Communications: @email

Halton Industry Education Council-Career Centre (HIEC)
Media Contact:
Meghan Paton, Manager, Communications: @email - 905-483-3270

Lighthouse Labs
Media Contact:
Stuart Martin, Talk Shop Media: @email

MaRS Discovery District
Media Contacts:
Mark Abbott, Managing Director Engineering Change Lab: @email;

McGill University
Media Contact:
Cynthia Lee, Associate Director, Media Relations: @email - 514-398-6754 

Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador
Media Contact:
Dave Sorensen, Manager Communications: @email - 709-864-2143

Red River College Polytechnic
Media Contact:
Conor Lloyd, APR, Director, College and Public Relations: @email - 204-795-2864

Rural Development Network
Media Contact:
Dee Ann Benard, Executive Director: @email - 780-964-2736 x 7

Ryerson University - Architectural Science
Media Contact:
Karen Benner, Associate Director, University Communications: @email - 416-979-5000 x 553494

Media Contact:
Emily Best, Northern Communications Lead: @email - 1-709-217-2711

University of New Brunswick
Media Contact:
Heather Campbell, Acting Director, Communications: @email - 506-648-5697

University of Calgary
Media Contacts:
Dean Parthenis, Director: @email - 403-629-5806;

University of the Fraser Valley
Media Contact:
Dave Pinton, Director, Communications: @email - 604-702-2606;
Paulyene Da Costa Canedo, Communications Coordinator, College of Arts: @email - 604-557-7616

University of Prince Edward Island
Media Contacts:
Nicole Phillips, Director, Communications and University Relations: @email - 902-566-0947;
Marketing and Communications: @email - 902-566-0947

York University
Media Contact:

Western University
Media Contact:
Tea Hadwen, Digital Engagement Coordinator, Leadership & Learning: @email - 519-661-2111 x84858