Children and Youth Opportunities

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Career Focus

Career Focus partners with Manitoba employers and educators to create career-related work experience opportunities for high school and post-secondary students. Career Focus provides participating employers with wage subsidies that support student employment positions.

Important Changes to the Career Focus Program:

Under the Province of Manitoba’s recently announced First Jobs Strategy, new and expanded supports are available to employers who provide students with paid employment in cooperative work placement, vocational, and apprenticeship positions.

This includes the Paid Work Experience tax credits that provide refundable supports to eligible salaries and wages paid by Manitoba employers worth:

  • 25% for high school apprentices, co-operative work placements and registered high school vocational programs (up to $5,000);

  • 15% for wages and salaries for post-secondary graduates for the first two years of employment (up to $2,500);

  • 15% for post-secondary graduates for the first two years of employment (up to $2,500);

  • 15% for early level and advanced level apprentices (up to $5,000); and

  • 15% for recently certified journeypersons (up $5,000).

Effective immediately, the Paid Work Experience tax credits will replace the wage subsidy supports provided by the Career Focus program.

However, to ensure that employers can easily transition to the new tax credit supports, the Career Focus program will accept a final intake of applications for wage subsidies from September 1 to December 31, 2015. 

This final, one-time application for  Career Focus wage subsidies is subject to approval based on existing Career Focus program eligibility, conditions and funding availability.   

Please note that your business may be eligible for a greater benefits under the tax credit option than the Career Focus program and we are strongly encouraging employers to explore the expanded supports provided by the Paid Work Experience tax credits.

For more information about Paid Work Experience tax credits, please contact:

Manitoba Tax Assistance Office
809 – 386 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB ; R3C 3R6
Winnipeg: (204) 948-2115
Outside Winnipeg: toll free 1-800-782-0771
Email: TAO@gov.mb.ca

Career Focus Employee Application PDF Document

Career Focus Employer Application PDF Document


Eligible Educational Institutions

Universities, colleges and public or private high schools.

Eligible Employers

Eligible employers include registered Manitoba businesses, institutional organizations or community/non-profit groups in full operation prior to program application. Employers must be identified by an appropriate educational institution as providing a career-related employment experience. Federal and Provincial government departments, agencies and crown corporations are not eligible.

Student Employees

Eligible students must be legally entitled to work in Canada, 16 years of age or over, and currently employed no more than 20 hours per week.

Ineligible Employees

  1. immediate relatives of the owner, hiring authority or any director of the applicant business/organization;

  2. individuals who are owners or part-owners, or board members of the applicant business/organization;

  3. self-employed individuals, independent contractors, sub-contractors, independent commission salespersons, individuals involved in one-on-one personal services or those paid on a piece-work basis;

  4. employees already approved/participating in another provincial/federal wage incentive program.

Eligibility requirements for student employment position(s)

  1. Student employment positions must be approved by the student's educational institution.

  2. The educational institution must confirm that positions are career-related.

  3. Student positions must be created to supplement existing regular or seasonal staff, regularly scheduled shifts, regular work activity and/or required staff-to-client ratios.

  4. The creation of student positions cannot result in the lay-off, reduction of hours or dismissal of current employees. Student positions cannot be used to replace employees who have previously been laid-off or dismissed.

  5. Each position must provide a minimum of 25 regular hours of employment each week and at least 160 hours of total employment (over consecutive weeks).

  6. Positions must be based in Manitoba and cannot be funded by any additional federal or provincial employment program.

Additional Eligibility Requirements

In addition to meeting the basic eligibility requirements (above), students applying to each specific Career Focus component must meet the following requirements:

  • High School Student Summer Positions - Full time student (minimum 60% course load) and returning to school in the fall

  • High School Apprenticeship Program - Student is enrolled in the High School Apprenticeship Program (HSAP) and seeking employment as part of that program.

  • Post Secondary Student Summer Positions - Full time student (minimum 60% course load) and returning to school in the fall

  • Post Secondary Student Co-op Positions - Student is enrolled in a co-operative education program and seeking employment as part of that program

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Terms and Conditions

NOTE: Failure to comply with any of the following Terms and Conditions could result in disqualification from the program and demand for repayment of any funds received. In signing Section E Certification of the Career Focus application the applicant agrees to comply with all terms and conditions listed in this information, if approved for assistance.

  1. All approved employers agree:
    1. to comply with all Federal and Provincial laws and regulations governing employers;
    2. to provide each employee with supervision, training or orientation and a clear definition of the duties and position responsibilities;
    3. to provide and pay the employee for consecutive weeks of employment during the funding period.
    4. to pay the employee the provincial minimum hourly wage or the wage indicated on the application form, whichever is greater.
      that wages for positions which fall under the jurisdiction of an employee association or union are to be agreed upon by an accredited representative of the employees' association or union.

      that employers in the construction industry must pay at least the applicable minimum industry standard wage;
    5. to maintain an accurate daily record of the hours worked by each Career Focus employee, including a separate daily record of overtime hours. Claims for reimbursement, payroll records, including records of daily hours worked, cancelled cheques, records of employer contributions and employee deductions for all employees funded under the program must be maintained in Manitoba and produced for review upon request by a person employed by the Government of Manitoba to monitor the program;
    6. to pay each employee's wage at least twice per month and provide a pay statement on each occasion;
    7. to provide each employee (including agricultural employees) vacation pay at the rate of 4% of regular gross earnings; and
    8. to make only those deductions from the employee's wage which go toward normal employee benefits, are authorized by the employee or are required by law.

  2. For positions not covered by a collective agreement, or by the Construction Industry Wages Act, ALL OVERTIME HOURS worked must be PAID at one and one-half times the regular hourly rate of pay. Overtime hours include any hours worked by an employee in excess of eight hours per day and any hours worked by an employee in excess of forty (40) hours per week. Any variation to standard hours of work must be approved through the issue of an Average/Break/Rest Permit or a Simplified Averageing Permit issued by the Employment Standards Branch. For farm employers, any hours in excess of 10 hours per day, or 50 hours per week will be considered overtime hours by Career Focus.

  3. Employers listed in the compulsory workers' compensation category under The Workers' Compensation Act, must ensure that each employee is covered by workers' compensation and, when asked, must provide satisfactory proof that the required workers' compensation coverage is in place. Even is you are listed on the exempt industry list under The Workers' Compensation Act, you may still need to register Career Focus employees. Employers not listed in the compulsory workers' compensation category under The Workers' Compensation Act, must ensure that each employee is covered by privately purchased liability insurance coverage equivalent to the coverage that would otherwise be available under the Act, and when asked, you must provide satisfactory proof that the required insurance coverage is in place.

  4. Career Focus employers agree to provide information which will assist in reviewing the effectiveness of the program.

  5. If, in the opinion of Career Focus program officials, an approved applicant or authorized representative has misrepresented the information provided in the application or other Career Focus documents;

    has used part or all of the funding for purposes other than those authorized on the approved application;
    fails to comply with the Terms and Conditions of the program as described, program officials may cancel any funding approved or provided and take the appropriate steps to require the approved applicant or authorized official of the approved applicant to repay in whole or in part of any funds provided.

  6. Where Career Focus staff has determined that an employer has failed to comply with programs terms and conditions regarding a Career Focus employee, funding will be withheld until compliance has been verified by program officials. Failure by program officials to take action for non-compliance or for a breach of the program Terms and Conditions shall not be construed as a general waiver or relinquishment of this right.

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Application and Reimbursement Procedures


  1. Educational institutions will recruit employers to participate in the program based on the employers' ability to create career-related work experiences.

  2. Completed employer and employee applications must be submitted to participating institutions and reviewed by the educators responsible for co-ordinating applications. All applications must then be forwarded to Career Focus by the participating educational institutions.

  3. Applications will be assessed upon receipt. Employers and participating educators will be notified promptly regarding the approval or rejection of their applications.

  4. Employers who hire before receiving approval will be disqualified from the program.


  1. Approved employers must pay their employees their full wage each pay period (including overtime earned during that period) before submitting claims for reimbursement.

  2. Claims for reimbursement must accurately reflect payroll records (including weekly hours worked) and must be submitted to the program immediately after the Career Focus funding period. Career Focus will not accept claims for reimbursement which have not been signed by the employer and approved employee. All approved training must be supported by a completed Reimbursement for Training Costs form.

  3. Career Focus claims for reimbursement must be submitted within 90 days from the end of the approved period coverage. Claims submitted after 90 days will not be accepted.

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Assessment and Financial Assistance

Position Assessment Criteria

Each position will be assessed basis of program eligibility requirements. Priority will be given to positions where the proposed employee is considered to belong to an employment equity group (i.e. Aboriginal people, persons with a disability and visible minorities) and to small and medium size employers.

Approval of positions is subject to the availability of funds.

Financial Assistance

Career Focus provides employers with a wage incentive of $3.00 per hour. Payments will be issued on a claim-for-reimbursement basis, and employers are eligible to apply for a maximum of three positions per independent work location. Training costs will also be supported to a maximum of $100.00 per position.

Career Focus will not provide wage incentives for any weeks worked outside of the approved employment period, any weeks in which an employer has not provided a minimum of 25 regular hours of employment, any time off given to an employee in lieu of overtime pay or wages paid in lieu of notice or as severance pay.

The maximum number of hours supported by the Career Focus wage incentive is based on the type of position:

  • High School Student Summer Positions: 160 hours

  • High School Apprenticeship Program: 160 hours

  • Post Secondary Student Summer Positions: 300 hours

  • Post Secondary Student Co-op Positions: 360 hours

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Important Contacts

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
For information on employer/employee contributions to E.I. and C.P.P.:

Workers Compensation Board
To inquire about compulsory and non-compulsory registration:
204-954-4321 or 1-800-632-3340

Employment Standards Branch
To inquire about employer obligations, such as overtime, vacation pay, minimum wage and Averaging/Break/Rest Permits and Simplified Averaging Permit Process:
204-945-3352 or 1-800-821-4307

All Career Focus applications must be submitted to:

Manitoba Career Focus
Manitoba Children and Youth Opportunities
MB4Youth Branch
310-800 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3G ON4
204-945-3557 or toll-free 1-800-282-8069 (ext. 3557)
Email:  CareerFocus@gov.mb.ca


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