Update on the youth wage subsidy from the Canada Digital Adoption Program

Words by
Lorraine Wong
Written on
May 26, 2023
Last updated on
March 5, 2024

February 2024 Update: ISED has announced it is no longer accepting new business applications for the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) Boost Your Business Technology grant. Businesses with approved grant agreements will remain automatically eligible for wage subsidies once their grant agreement has been paid out by ISED. 


Can you use the help of a youth to implement your digital initiatives?

As you may have heard, the Canadian Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) is making it easy for small and medium-sized enterprises to start leveraging technology to grow and become more competitive.

If your business qualifies for the Boost Your Business Technology stream of the CDAP, then you can benefit from these three components of the program:

  • $15K grant to help develop a digital adoption plan
  • $50K - $100K interest-free loan to implement your plan
  • $7,300 wage subsidies for multiple youth to implement your plan

In this post, we’ll share more the wage subsidy.

As of October 2023, companies can now apply for multiple wage subsidies.

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Program Update - Youth Wage Subsidy - Canada Digital Adoption Program
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What’s the wage subsidy? What’s the youth placement?

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Businesses can hire one or multiple youth and qualify for a $7,300 wage subsidy for each eligible youth hire
  • Youth must be 18-30
  • Youth must be Canadian citizens, permanentresidents, or refugees with the right to work in Canada
  • Each role can be full-time or part-time
  • Each youth can complete only 1 funded work placement 
  • Paying market wages is encouraged.

How can I use the wage subsidy?

The CDAP wage subsidy can help you with implementing any initiative or solution that’s in your digital adoption plan.

Initiatives in a digital adoption plan may include:

  • Digital marketing activities, e.g. social media, email marketing, keyword research
  • Improving cyber security and data privacy, e.g. selecting a password manager and training the team on how to use it
  • Configuration, process redesign and change management activities associated with implementing a new system, e.g. collecting requirements, updating process and policy documents, internal communications and training
  • Digitizing paper files

As long as your digital adoption plan was approved by ISED, then the youth can take on any work related to the digital initiatives that’s in the plan.

Our Advice:

When you’re developing the implementation roadmap for your digital adoption plan, consider which digital initiatives may benefit from having a youth on the team to implement and how that affects resourcing across all digital initiatives.

Which youth are eligible?

Eligibility requirements are:

  • Ages 18-30
  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or refugees with the right to work in Canada

As of October 2023, previous requirements are no longer required:

  • No longer required: the youth no longer has to be a student or recent graduate
  • No longer required: no minimum hours required to receive the wage subsidy (previously 450 hours)

The youth participant must not have previously completed a Boost Your Technology work placement.

You don’t need to hire the young before applying for this wage subsidy. You’ll find more details on the application process below.

Why should I hire a youth?

It’s worthwhile to hire youth talent to support the implementation of your digital adoption plan. Internal teams are often stretched and an extra pair of hands is often much-needed.

Here are some reasons to take on a youth placement to implement your digital initiatives:

  • You have staffing shortages
  • Your team is already at capacity
  • Your needs for implementation are short-term
  • You don’t have the knowledge internally to take on the work (this might make sense for activities like social media and digital marketing)
  • You’re previously hired a youth and want to re-hire them for work that’s in your digital adoption plan

If the youth performs well during the work placement, you can make them a permanent hire to continue supporting your digital initiatives.

Even if it it doesn’t lead to a permanent hire, you’ll still be improving your business technology while helping the youth start their career.

Our Advice:

Take advantage of this wage subsidy and assign them to specific tasks within 1-2 digital initiatives. Offer solid training at the start of their placement, define their role clearly, and provide the necessary support to ensure they are successful.

Can I apply for the wage subsidy if I also need the loan?

Yes, you can apply for both the interest-free loan of up to $100,000 and the $7,300 wage subsidy.

You just need to make sure your digital adoption plan was approved by ISED.

What’s the application process? When will I receive the funds?

The process is simple:

  1. Receive confirmation that your digital adoption plan is approved by ISED.
  2. Apply on the CDAP Magnet webpage. They require attestation from your businesses to get your application started.
  3. If you have a youth already, they will be asked to complete the application as well.
  4. If you need help finding a youth, Magnet can assist in sharing your job opportunities with eligible youth across Canada.
  5. Once the youth completes the work placement, use the Magnet platform to initiate the reimbursement process.
  6. The funds will be distributed in 1-2 months.

As of right now, there is no deadline to apply, but we will keep you posted with the latest news as we get more information.

Our Advice:

Apply as soon as your digital adoption plan is approved. Post your opportunity right away or identify a youth who’ve been successful working with you in the past to apply.

Learn More

By developing a digital adoption plan, your business will have a clear path forward to get your business online, give your online presence a boost or digitalize your business operations.

Cue North is an approved digital advisor of CDAP. Book a complimentary call with our team to help you get started.

One of the most appealing components of the Canada Digital Adoption Program is the interest-free loan. To learn more, read our post on the interest-free loan.

Lorraine Wong
Lorraine Wong
Founder @ Cue North

Helping leaders build great organizations through processes and powerful digital experiences