Government Funding: Wage Subsidy Programs

I was researching this info for local Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, Ontario small business financing options and the programs related to wage subsidy. The goal was to find programs to offset training costs for new hires to support growth.

Here is the list of the three best options of government subsidy programs:

Option 1 – Targeted Wage Subsidy program (the local office is 519-653-5758) or visit – The Wage Subsidy Program website. In order to qualify for this, you may not have had any layoffs in the past 6 months and the provincial subsidy is equal to the EI benefits that the individual is receiving. You can negotiate the amount based on the training that is required as an employer. Each local office runs on a unique basis – so the job bank will need to review and the support established independently.

Option 2 – Job Connect (the local office is 519-622-0815). This program is for those individuals wanting to return to work and not on EI benefits. Subsidy may vary at each community agency. Runs year round and must have WSIB or 3rd party coverage. Their job developer would then send you individuals for you to hire and place. The subsidy would be from $1/hr to 50% of the wage.

Option 3 – Summer Job Service (the local office is 519-622-0815). This program offers a $2.00/hr incentive to the employer for hiring full-time hours and no family members. I have seen exceptions that if the student is taking summer schools or one-two courses they may reduce the terms of the full-time conditions. This is the Provincial program. The Federal program called Canada Summer Jobs had a deadline of Feb 27th so you have missed that one. Students must be returning to school in the fall. Disbursements are made in one settlement with one claim at the end of the summer – mid-November. Accept Claims by Oct 31st. Cambridge Career Connections. Must be approved By April 1st.

If you wanted to share this info with your colleagues, please direct them into Employment Ontario 1-800-267-8097 to establish the local office and regional offices that will support these programs in their area. Ask specifically for these three programs. If you only ask for one program, they will speak to you only about one. So knowledge is power.

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  1. Hi,
    We run a cleaning company, for the last 20 years..we struggle with the new imposed wages…we may very well sink after hiring immigrants for the last 2 decades.
    We have customers that don’t want to pay for increase and other part that we have to pay..14$ an hour. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Nadia, we speak with many businesses that have been impacted by the rise in minimum wage. Often, our suggestion is to look into hiring grants and wage subsidies that help recover a portion of these workers’ wages.

      Unfortunately, there is limited availability of these programs for startups and service-based companies such as you are. There is one program however, the Canada Summer Jobs program, that could help you hire students over the summer. This could help to alleviate some of your payroll pressures.

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