Financial, Tax, and Employment Considerations
1. Are financial incentives available to support EL/WIL?
A variety of financial supports exist to support EL partnerships including tax credits, wage subsidies and project grants.
See Funding Supports for more information.
2. Who determines the salary or compensation for paid positions?
In most cases you will be able to set the salary and/or compensation schedule. Universities will encourage you to compensate students in line with market rates. Many institutions post details about past salaries as a guide.
For example, the University of Waterloo has a guide of Canadian hourly earnings for co-op students according to the student’s academic program and level of study.
3. Is the EL student considered an employee? If not, what are they considered?
In some cases, you will need to enter into a formal employment relationship with the student. This is especially the case when a student placement is paid in the form of a salary or wages for hours worked. You should work with your university partner to create an employment agreement for your situation.
Unpaid placements and situations where students are compensated through an honorarium may not require an employment contract. Discuss such matters with your university partner.
4. What kinds of EL placements require students to be paid and what kinds do not?
Ontario’s universities offer paid and unpaid EL opportunities to students and with external organizations such as businesses and non-profits. Each university has different policies regarding if these partnerships require financial compensation for the student.
5. Do students on unpaid EL projects have the same rights as our employees?
The legal rights of EL students depend on the particular legal framework:
- All EL students completing their placement as part of a university program are exempted from the Employment Standards Act (ESA).
- EL students, whether they are paid or not, are covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
- EL students, whether paid or not, are covered under the Ontario Human Rights Code; students in federally regulated industries or sectors are covered under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
6. Will I need to pay employment insurance (EI) premiums for an EL student?
You are responsible for remitting and paying EI premiums if you have entered into an employer-employee relationship with the EL student that compensates them for work or services rendered. A grant or honorarium in support of the student’s education may have different treatment for EI purposes. You should discuss this further with a tax or accounting professional to receive advice regarding your situation.
The Government of Canada’s Insurable Earnings and Collection of Premiums Regulations define insurable earnings as:
“(a) The total of all amounts, whether wholly or partly pecuniary, received or enjoyed by the insured person that are paid to the person by the person’s employer in respect of that employment, and
(b) The amount of any gratuities that the insured person is required to declare to the person’s employer under provincial legislation.”
Insurable earning may also include any board or lodging enjoyed by the EL student that you provide.