Why is Advance Ontario important for students?
Employers in Ontario can play a pivotal role in providing students with valuable paid work-based learning experiences. These experiences not only enhance students' skills but also help them establish vital employer connections and gain clarity about their career paths.
Unfortunately, a significant number of students are still excluded from programs that offer conventional work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities like internships, placements, co-ops, or even class-based Riipen WIL experiences. It is essential to recognize that every student should have the chance to acquire real-world experience.
It's also important to acknowledge that not all students can commit to lengthy WIL experiences, especially those pursuing Continuing Education. However, the majority of students can conveniently integrate an 80-hour project into their schedules, especially when given up to 8 weeks to complete it. Additionally, the prospect of being compensated for their exceptional contributions makes such opportunities even more appealing.
Am I an eligible employer?
Employers must be located in Ontario, Canada and considered as one of the following:
for-profit of not-for-profit corporation;
Note: Employers must have an Ontario business with a valid registered business number.
What does an Advance Ontario project need to include?
Projects should provide 80 hours of work per student participating. Each project must be completed within 2-8 weeks. Employers are required to provide a minimum of 5 hours of mentorship to each student. Please note that not providing mentorship goes against the three strike system. For more information on how to create and submit a project for Advance Ontario, you can consult this article.
How many projects can I submit and how many students can I take on?
There is a limit of 10 learning experiences that employers can facilitate per calendar year. Each learning experience corresponds to one student working on a single project, which involves approximately 80 hours of work. The limit resets at the beginning of the next calendar year.
Employers in need of additional learning experiences should complete a request form. The Advance Ontario team will assess whether they qualify for more funded learning experiences. If their request is denied, they are welcome to reapply in 3 months. However, even if approved, they are not guaranteed additional learning experiences, as these are contingent upon the availability of funding and the matching of students, among other factors.
What if my project requires more than 80 hours of work?
If this is the case, we suggest taking on more than one student on the same project. For example, if your project requires 160 hours of work, two students would be needed to complete your project.
What are the Terms and Conditions for the program and what is the three strike system?
To ensure a smooth Advance Ontario experience for all parties involved, we have established specific Terms and Conditions. Please be aware that agreeing to these terms is a prerequisite for participating in Advance Ontario, so please ensure that you have thoroughly reviewed them.
We've also created a three strike system. This means that if any Advance Ontario user goes against the Terms and Conditions, they will receive a strike. You will be notified via e-mail when/if you've received a strike. If you receive three strikes, you will be removed from the program and will no longer be able to participate.
How do students get connected to projects?
Students will apply directly to your project, either individually or as part of a team, and these applications will expire after 30 days. Employers should only accept applications from the students they intend to collaborate with. We strongly encourage you to conduct pre-screenings to ensure that the student is a suitable match for your project. Please note that allowing an application to expire will count as a strike, as outlined in the three-strike system mentioned earlier.
Students must start and complete the work through the Riipen platform in order to receive the Advance Ontario stipend. You are welcome to communicate with them outside of the platform as well.
Students will require a dedicated point of contact to offer mentorship, address inquiries, and grant access to any necessary resources during the project. Payment will be facilitated by Riipen through the Advance Ontario program upon the project's completion.
You can read further details here.
How does the funding work?
Advance Ontario is different from traditional wage subsidy or grant funding programs that you might be used to. Riipen pays students directly, which means that funding is attached to students, not projects.
When a project is approved for the Advance Ontario program, that simply means that the project becomes available for students to apply to. Stipends are not locked in until a student has applied to and been accepted (we call this being “matched”). Stipends are sent to students as a one-time payment, which means that students only receive payment upon successful completion of projects. Students who do not fully complete the project will not be paid. Students will be permitted to take on one project per calendar year.
What conditions must be met for the student to get paid?
Students are eligible to receive the $1,400 stipend after four important things happen:
Team makes a final submission in Riipen. Each submission must include:
A reflection note on their project work
Project deliverables, or if an NDA was required, the redacted deliverables or a sample of non-confidential work.
80 hours of work tracked in Riipen’s worklog feature.
The student has submitted their exit survey.
You, as the employer, have provided feedback in the platform.
Once those three steps are completed, the Riipen team takes care of #4. We review these steps to determine whether the student;
has completed 80 hours of work
that all deliverables are aligned with the project scope;
that you, as the employer, are satisfied with the work. We know this from your feedback in the platform and your exit survey.
If these conditions are met, we can process payment.
Are students employees of the organization?
No. Students are neither employees of the organization they do a project for, nor of Riipen (who will pay their stipend). As such, students do not qualify for any benefits and will not obtain any record of employment (ROE) from either organizations.
If I choose to submit my project to other opportunities, will those students receive stipends?
No. While you are welcome to submit your project(s) to other courses and internship programs on Riipen, connections that you make outside of the Advance Ontario portal would not have the stipend attached, even if the students are eligible. Students will only receive a stipend if they have applied and been accepted to your project through the Advance Ontario portal. Alternatively, you can invite any student to sign up and follow the process to join your project.
What if I require the student to sign an NDA?
Why do I need to verify my identity?
As part of the funding agreement with Ontario's Ministry of Colleges and Universities, individuals participating in the Advance Ontario program must meet specific eligibility criteria. As part of upholding our commitment to dispersing stipends that meet eligibility criteria, Students and Employers are required to verify their identity before engaging in projects. Read more about ID verification here.
What if I need to change the project end date?
Students set the start and end dates of their projects. Once the project starts, these dates are locked in and cannot be updated by students or employers.
We know that life can throw curveballs. If the end date needs to be changed, the student must contact our Advance Ontario team (firstname.lastname@example.org) a minimum of five days before the end date. We will do our best to accommodate their request.
Once a project has started, can I swap students?
No. Each student on the team MUST be registered with the project before the start date. We do not allow student swaps once a project has started. If you are having challenges with a student, contact the Advance Ontario team (email@example.com).
Is Advance Ontario available in French?
Yes, Advance Ontario is available in French on the platform. All communications and marketing collateral are also available in French. If you'd like to use the Riipen platform in French, you can navigate to your dashboard, click the drop down arrow in the top right corner and again on "Settings". Under "Accessibility", you will be able to change your language preference to French.