How to Qualify for YEP Canada Small Business Grants for Hiring

May 2016 Program Update: Businesses seeking wage subsidies for new graduate hires should access Mentor Works’ free Wage Subsidy Identifier tool to be provided with the most accurate funding information. New programs are available to hire recent graduates; ensure that your business is capitalizing on these funds effectively by providing information on your business and job candidate.

The Youth Employment Program (YEP) is a great option for innovative small businesses operating in Canada. The YEP Canada business grants for hiring are offered through the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) and aims to give opportunities for recent graduates to take on a position an innovative small business in Canada.

Benefits of Participating in the YEP Canada Business Grants Program

Small and medium-sized businesses will receive a non-repayable financial contribution of up to $20,000 in Ontario, and possibly as high as $30,000 in Alberta.  The funding will be offered through a small business grant for hiring to support the salary costs of the post-secondary grad hired.

YEP Small Business Grants Canada: Company Eligibility

In order for your small business to qualify for funding through the YEP Canadian business grants program your enterprise must:

  • Have 500 or less employees on payroll,
  • Be an incorporated, for-profit firm,
  • Be ready to enhance your innovation capacity, and willing to establish a trusting relationship with IRAP.

Youth Employment Program Canada Business Grants: Employee Eligibility

Graduates eligible for funding through the Youth Employment Program (YEP) will meet the following criteria:

  • Will be a Canadian citizen, have permanent resident status or refugee status in Canada,
  • Will be between the ages of 15 and 30,
  • Will have graduated from a post-secondary institution,
  • Will be legally entitled to work according to relevant provincial legislation and regulations, and;
  • Will be a first-time youth participant in a placement of the Career Focus Program of the Youth Employment Strategy.

Benefits of Participating in the YEP Canada Business Grants Program

Small and medium-sized businesses will receive a non-repayable financial contribution in the form of a small business grant for hiring in order to support the salary costs of the post-secondary grad hired.

Youth Employment Program Canada Business Grants: Eligible Activities

Recent graduates hired through the YEP business grants Canada program will work on technical opportunities within the small and medium-sized enterprise and on non-technical but technology related projects such as:

  • Engineering,
  • Research and Development,
  • Multi-media,
  • Development of new products and processes;
  • Market analysis for a new technology-based product,
  • Business development related to science and technology activities, and
  • Improvement of customer services, etc.

Access YEP and Other Canadian Wage Subsidies for Business

The Youth Employment Program is one of several wage subsidies that Canadian businesses may access to hire recent graduates at a reduced rate. To discover the ideal funding opportunity for your business and job candidate, access the Wage Subsidy Identifier tool.

Find Hiring Grants for Small Business


  1. thanks for sharing. Does multi media mean online marketing such as SEO, Google Advertising, Web Desing?

    We are Marketing Agency company looking for hire and train a student in this field. We noticed most student from UBC and SFU are lacking those technical skills

    1. Hi Tim – Thanks for the note. A lot has changed since this article was posted back in 2014. To find out which hiring or training grants might be the best fit for you, please fill out our Hiring Grant Finder. Many hiring grants launch throughout the year and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis until funding is depleted.

    1. Hi Jenn – Canadian incorporation is a requirement for all government funding programs that we focus, so that would be your first step on the road to receiving government funding support. That is actually an item on our Startup Funding Checklist, which I recommend you take a look at, as it has other tips to help you set a good foundation for your young business.

  2. I am yoga instructor and just rented a yoga studio in Burnaby.

    I don’t have a office. Can I still hire a person for doing online marketing for my Yoga Studio website?
    Does this apply to my business?

    1. Hi Belinda – Historically, the employee would need to have an adequate workspace and equipment provided by the employer in order to do their job, however COVID-19 has affected several programs that now allow remote working where required. It’s best to contact a representative with the YEP directly to explore hiring grant opportunities.

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