Impact of COVID-19

Flexible Hiring Options

To provide flexibility for employers who have been adversely affected by COVID-19, we’ve made some adjustments to our standard co-op guidelines.

For fall 2020 (Sep-Dec), and winter 2021 (Jan-Apr), we are accepting postings with a term of 8-16 weeks and a minimum of 280 hours.

These temporary changes to our guidelines allow your organization to hire full-time positions with a later start date or part-time throughout the term.

These changes are in effect across all co-op programs at UBC, in both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses.

We encourage you to hire with regular co-op hours, whenever possible, which is full-time for 12 weeks or a minimum of 420 hours.

We understand that with the rapidly evolving situation around COVID-19, your ability to proceed with co-op hiring as planned may change. If that happens, please keep in mind our revised guidelines and consider delaying the start of the work term or shortening the hours per week.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your individual situation, please contact Heather Liau, Manager, Marketing & Industry Relations.

Funding Resources


To support your ability to continue hiring students, there are a number of funding sources you may be eligible for, through the Student Work Placement Program (SWPP).

As part of the federal government’s COVID-19 response, SWPP is now able to cover 75% of all student placements to a maximum of $7,500 per placement.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has introduced some temporary changes to SWPP to make it easier for employers to access funding.

  • Pre-approval – Apply for funding before you’ve selected a candidate, so that you can fast-track the process.
  • Subsidies in advance – Non-profits and SMEs (500 or less employees) can receive up to 75% of the wage subsidy up-front and the remaining 25% midway through the work term.
  • Shorter work terms – Postpone the start date, rather than cancelling the position altogether, if you’re not able to move forward with the full term as planned.
  • Expanded employer eligibility - Post-secondary institutions (universities, colleges and polytechnics) can access funding to provide meaningful work terms to students.
  • Waiving of "net new" requirement - Funding is now available to all eligible placements, with no requirement to demonstrate that student hiring would be more than the previous year.
  • Remote work locations – Students funded by SWPP can work from home.

These changes are in effect until March 31, 2021.


Innovate BC has increased its funding - BC-based organizations with less than 500 employees can now receive up to $20,000 per year to hire co-op students.

Each employer is eligible to receive a maximum of 4 grants per program year (each valued at $5,000 for a total value of $20,000), to recruit and train between 1-4 distinct co-op students. Learn more about program details and eligibility

Additionally, the BC Tech Co-op Grants are stackable with other Canadian hiring grants and programs, including:  

Workplace Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic

View our guidelines and responsibilities for employers who require co-op students to work onsite.

Best Practices for Remote Work

As many of our employers have shifted to virtual operations, we have some tips on how to work with students remotely, courtesy of CEWIL (Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada):

•    Tips for Onboarding Students Remotely (PDF)
•    Tips for Supervising Students Remotely (PDF)