Information for Co-op Employers
The Cooperative Education (Co-op) Program aims to connect student classroom learning with valuable work experience, preparing students for a successful career and providing employers with opportunities to address labour market needs.
Contribute to developing experiential learning opportunities while getting the help you need for your workplace
What is a co-op employer?
Co-op employers provide any term position to a student as a co-op placement if they are an agency, organization or company that follows the employer standards outlined in the program. Working with the Co-op Coordinator, employers can market their position to students within particular undergraduate programs.
Co-op placements require collaboration between the Faculty’s Co-op Coordinator and employers who are looking to specifically hire co-op students, with both parties gaining a better sense of the other’s ever-shifting needs.
The Faculty is thrilled to work with long-time, committed employer partners and is always open to forming new ones within industry and government.
Become a Co-op Employer
Hiring through the Co-op Program is a great way to recruit skilled and motivated students who are eager to learn and contribute. The Program allows students to apply theory into practice through relevant, full-time and paid opportunities.
Benefits of Being a Co-op Employer
Benefits of the Co-op Program
The Co-op Program provides employers with supports and opportunities to:
- Gain new, innovative ideas and fresh perspectives from students.
- Build and develop a fruitful relationship with members of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and the Agri-Food sector.
- Continuous access to a diverse pool of potential student candidates with varying backgrounds in the agri-food sector.
- Access hiring incentives, wage subsidies, government tax incentives such as the Cooperative Education tax credit that covers 15% (up to $5000) of student wages.
- Reduce recruitment costs by addressing labour market gaps through a growing coop program.
- Evaluate, train and mould long-term employees before committing. Most co-op employers hire their students after graduation.
- Each work term allows employers to explore different job designs, task varieties, and project needs that can help define the company's recruitment and staffing goals.
- Learn and build on supervisory and project management skills by taking on co-op students as new trainees and employees, and by participating in evaluations and career conversations.
Participating in the Co-op Program is a decision to contribute to the overall student experience and address labour market needs. The Faculty ensures that co-op students are accountable to employers by maintaining regular contact with both direct supervisors and students.
It is important for us to work together to make this a meaningful experience and preserve valued relationships between students, coop coordinator(s), and industry partners.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of responsibilities that Co-op employers must adhere to:
Adhere to all laws and legislation related labour and employment such as the Occupation Health and Safety legislation, Canada Labour Code, Canadian Human Rights Act, Employment Standards legislation, and much more.
Provide an orientation to familiarize the student with his/her responsibilities, work environment, direct supervisor (or workplace mentor) and organization's policies, etc.
Provide a safe and conducive work environment, especially to those with limited experience.
Develop and provide a training plan for students to learn and understand the role, health and safety regulations, and other procedures necessary to the position.
Foster a healthy working relationship with co-op students that encourages career conversations and discussions on career pathways, opportunities, learning objectives, etc.
Participate and submit student evaluations to better support and encourage student/employee development.
Maintain clear and timely communication with the Co-op Coordinator. especially when reporting and addressing any job related performance issues (i.e.attendance, punctuality, quality of work, etc.).
Onboarding Process for New Co-op Employers
New Co-op Employers are encouraged to review the following to ensure that processes are clear right from registering at the beginning to conducting final student evaluations at the end of each work term.
Using careerCONNECT for recruitment and hiring
The Co-op Program mainly operates via careerCONNECT portal where employers can post jobs and view applications.
In 2019, we migrated from traditional paper & email process to an interactive platform to help make it easier for employers to promote jobs and events in an accessible way. Currently, we are limiting the use of the platform to posting jobs and accessing student applications to keep processes simple.
We will continue to explore advanced features that are available in the platform to improve the overall delivery and accessibility of the Co-op Program.
Importance of Having Career Conversations
Career conversations allow employers to learn about students’ strengths, interests, and future goals and ultimately help students to connect their current positions to their future career ideas. In some cases, duties might be enhanced after the mid-point meeting based on the knowledge, skill set, and interests that the student brings to the position.
By creating hands-on experiential learning opportunities, you are helping students develop skills and competencies that contribute to their overall academic, professional, and career success!
As soon as the student starts his or her work placement, his or her direct supervisor needs to become an active part of the co-op process. Supervisors provide students with feedback on their work performance through 3 evaluations, which are initiated and collected by the Faculty.
These evaluations occur at the 1-month, 2-month (or halfway) and 4-month (or end of work term) marks. The 1-month evaluation usually occurs in-person at the job site – the Co-op Coordinator arranges a suitable time with the employer and visits the work site, as biosecurity/safety allows.
To ensure the health and safety of our communities, all Co-op students and employers must adhere to COVID-19 safety policies and guidelines. For more information, visit Health Canada.
Wage Subsidies, Tax Incentives & Financial Support
Explore this extensive list of wage subsidy and tax rebate programs employers can access when hiring a student for Summer, co-op or internship placements.
Suggested Hiring Timeline
Hiring Co-op students can be a rewarding process if communication with our Co-op Coordinator happens early in the academic year. We understand that companies and employers have different hiring preferences and we strive to accommodate these as best as we could.
To help you understand and adopt processes to match the Co-op Program timeline, we suggest referring to the following timelines to ensure a smooth hiring process through the Co-op Program.
|June - September||Submit job opportunities to the Co-op Job Board|
|October||Review application and conduct interviews|
|November||Finalize the hiring process; Confirm new Co-op hires with the Co-op Coordinator|
|January - April||Winter Co-op Work Term|
|September - February||Submit job opportunities to the Co-op Job Board|
|October - March||Review applications, conduct interviews and finalize the hiring process. Confirm new Co-op hires with the Co-op Coordinator|
|May - August||Summer Co-op Work Term|
Summer recruitment - Special Intake
The special intake process accommodates employers with different hiring preferences and situations (e.g. applied for and are waiting for funding, chose to hire closer to the start of the work term, new Co-op employers, etc.)
|January - February||Submit job opportunities to the Co-op Job Board and utilize various channels for promotions|
|March - April||Review application and conduct interviews|
|April||Finalize the hiring process; Confirm new Co-op hires with the Co-op Coordinator|
|May - August||Summer Co-op Work Term|
Ready to Hire Our Students?
Follow the steps below to register as a new employer for the Co-op Program.
Step 1. Complete the Employer Registration Form
Contact the Cooperative Education Coordinator to express your interest in the Co-op Program. You will be added to our employer database and internal directory.
All submissions are strictly confidential and for administrative purposes only.
Step 2. Create an Employer Account on careerCONNECT
All Co-op Job Postings and Events will only be accessible through the Agriculture Co-op module in careerCONNECT. Please allow 1-2 business days to process your account registration.
All account registrations are processed by Career Services. You will receive an email notification once your account is approved and ready for access.
Step 3. Confirm access to the Agriculture Career & Co-op module
Accounts need special permission to view the Faculty's module within the careerCONNECT portal. Once you log-in to your account, confirm that you are able to view/access the "Agriculture Career & Co-op" module found on the left navigation menu.
If you are having trouble viewing/accessing this module, contact the Co-operative Education Coordinator for additional assistance.
Alternatively, you can also confirm that you have access to the module by clicking on "Post A Job" and you can see the Agriculture General Job Board and the Agriculture Co-op Job Board appear as options.
Step 4. Submit Co-op Job Postings
Once you have successfully logged-in to your careerCONNECT account, you can now post job postings to our Co-op Job Board. For detailed instructions, you can use this guide for reference.
Unlike jobs that are posted to our general job board, Co-op postings are free of charge. If you require additional support, you are encouraged to contact the Cooperative Education Coordinator.
Step 5. Conduct Hiring and Selection Process
You are responsible for contacting and conducting interviews with suitable candidates. It is important to inform us of any updates regarding the status of your recruitment.
When to send us an update:
- If the deadline is fast approaching and you have not received an adequate number of applications
- If you need assistance in booking interviews with potential Co-op candidates
- If you have conducted your interviews and/or made an offer to a Co-op student
- If you have not found a suitable candidate for the position
- If you have any changes to the job posting
- and much more!
Step 6. Finalize and confirm your new hire(s)
Upon the acceptance of a job offer, you are required to send us an email to confirm the placement and provide a proof of the student's employment. Make sure to include important details such as: 1) start and end dates, 2) anticipated hours per week, 3) other information such as salary, work location, training, etc.
Examples of documents and/or proof of your new hire:
- Signed contract and/or work arrangement
- Signed letter of employer
- A copy of job offer email and acceptance