Work terms generally start in January, May and September and last for approximately four to eight months.
Please check our institutions list as programs vary per college and university.
While the acceptance process may vary with each institution, students are required to apply to their co-op program. They also follow seminars on career development, interviewing and résumé writing.
The Co-op program is responsible for negotiating work terms with employers and with managing the procedures for matching students and employers. Until a final job assignment has been made, all communication should go through the Co-op office.
There are no fees to participate in the Co-op process for the employer. Institutions expect employers hiring co-op students to comply with federal and provincial employment standards and human rights codes.
Employers decide the salary. The expectation is that the employer pay Co-op students an equitable wage in keeping with their experience and educational level. Your institution is available to offer guidance in determining a salary based on what current Co-op students are earning. Benefits are the responsibility of the employer and must be provided under the terms of a Collective Agreement or the Employment Standards Act; 4% vacation pay, or time off in lieu, should be provided during the work term.
There are some federal, provincial and private organizations that provide subsidies to employers to hire students. Most of these subsidies are available during the summer months only. For more information please follow these links:
Employer / Employee Relationship:
For a Co-op work term to be successful, the supervisor and the student must establish an effective relationship. For the majority of placements, the student becomes an employee of the employing organization and is expected to be treated as any other temporary employee regarding benefits and other employment requirements as defined by the Employment Standards Act or a Collective Agreement. As such, the employer assumes responsibility, as they would for any other employee, for the period of the Co-op employment, and students accept the responsibilities of an employee.
In order to increase the student's productivity and facilitate learning, it is recommended that employers:
- at the outset, advise the student with regard to all issues of confidentiality in the workplace and ensure that any non-disclosure agreements are signed prior to the commencement of work
prepare the student's co-workers and other staff for the arrival of the student
provide student with an orientation to the workplace, including an overview of the organization (e.g., mission statement, products, etc.), physical layout, relevant personnel, safety practices, and the duties or tasks expected during the work term
- provide a supervisor for the Co-op student who will oversee the student's work and discuss expectations for the work term with the student and, on a regular basis, give the student feedback on how he/she is doing, including areas of strength and areas which require improvement
- assist students to set realistic learning objectives and provide relevant learning opportunities
acquaint the student with relevant resources and materials
Evaluation of the Learning
- participate in the work-site visit or follow-up measures by the institution to assess the student's progress and performance
- complete a final evaluation of the student's performance during the work term, which they are encouraged to discuss with the student
- discuss with the student the topic of the work term report and, if necessary, may be required to evaluate the work term report if considered confidential
Co-op students are expected to:
- conform to all the conditions and rules that apply to employees in the organization
- exercise ethical workplace conduct
- set goals for learning
- work on enhancing their academic, professional and personal skills
- maintain employer confidentiality
- accept feedback, suggestions for improvement in a positive manner
- participate in work-site visits
- resolve any problems or issues that may arise in a prompt, professional manner
- advise the employer and their coordinator of any concerns or problems with their work assignment or environment as soon as an issue arises
- keep in contact with their Co-op office
Co-op students are required to:
- complete successfully a pre-employment training program prior to undertaking their first work term. Pre-employment training is designed to prepare students for the work term and covers topics such as Co-op program objectives and expectations, job seeking skills, transferring skills to the workplace, workplace conduct, developing learning objectives, job performance progress and evaluation.
- complete a written report for each work term. The work term report, depending upon the program, may be a report required by the company; a technical report; a report on the work term experience; or a combination thereof. Students should discuss with the employer their work term topic and any issues of research confidentiality. If a report contains confidential information, the employer may arrange to undertake the assessment or arrange for a non-disclosure agreement with the Co-op office. This report and the employer's evaluation are used to evaluate the success of the work term, as recognized on the student¹s transcript.
The Institution is responsible for:
- ensuring the integrity of its Co-operative Education programs
- developing and maintaining relevant curricula which reflects the needs of employers
- providing relevant academic training for students in their chosen career field
- providing adequate resources to the Co-op program
- developing Co-op programs which meet the needs of employers
- to facilitate development of Co-op opportunities relevant to the program area
- to ensure fair and equitable treatment of students and employers through the placement process
- to assist employers through all aspects of the Co-op process
- to prepare Co-op students with appropriate skills and attitudes for their work terms
- to work with employers and students in monitoring and evaluating the students' work terms
- to encourage students to experience a range of employing organizations during their Co-op program
- to monitor the placements, preferably through an on-site visit, ensuring that both the employer's and the student's needs are being met
- to assess and evaluate the work term and the student's work term report
- to convey to employers the types of funding assistance that may be available
- to conduct a post-employment process with students
Information contained in this site is specific to post-secondary Co-op programs and may not pertain to other types of work experience programs, e.g., secondary school career preparation.