Province Supporting Youth Employment and Small Businesses with New Hiring Incentive

Ontario is helping young people find jobs and supporting employers by providing businesses with financial incentives to hire youth aged 15 to 29.

Jeff Leal, Minister Responsible for Small Business, made the announcement today at Morello’s Independent Grocer in Peterborough alongside Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

The Employing Young Talent Incentive helps young people find jobs by offering:

  • Small businesses with less than 100 employees, an initial $1,000 incentive upon hiring and an additional $1,000 retention incentive after six months for each youth hired through Employment Service.
  • Business owners of any size an initial $1,000 incentive after three months of hiring, followed by an additional $1,000 retention incentive after six months, for hiring youth who face barriers to employment through the Youth Job Connection program.

Ontario’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.


  • Ontario is investing $124 million to help youth aged 15 to 29 find a job through the Employing Young Talent Incentive.
  • The Employing Young Talent Incentive came into effect on January 1, 2018. For employers who hired youth clients through Employment Service before April 1, 2018, the first of their two $1,000 incentive payments will be delivered as a three-month retention incentive rather than as a payment upon hiring.
  • About one-third of Ontario workers are employed by small businesses.
  • Between October 1, 2015 and March 31, 2017, more than 22,000 young people with multiple employment barriers such as lack of experience have participated in Ontario’s Youth Job Connection program.
  • To strengthen Ontario small businesses, the province is investing more than $500 million over three years in new initiatives that include lowering the small business tax rate by 22 per cent from 4.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent, investing in youth employment, providing support for downtown main street businesses, and cutting red tape.



“We are making it easier for young people to find jobs with small businesses in Ontario, obtaining valuable experiences that will help kick-start their careers. Our plan is focused on creating opportunities for everyone, regardless of the barriers they might face, building strong foundations for our thriving local communities.”
 — Jeff Leal, Minister Responsible for Small Business

“Ontario is filled with talented, skilled young people ready to start a career and contribute to their communities. These incentives will help employers recognize the potential of young workers, providing Ontario’s next generation with valuable learning and training opportunities as they enter the workforce they will help build for years to come.”
 — Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development

“We are pleased to be part of this innovative new program that will assist youth starting their careers, while supporting local employers. Small business is vital to the economic health of this community.”
 — Nancy Thompson, Manager of Employment Services, Employment Planning & Counselling

“Our staff are an important part of our business and what we do here, helping us deliver exceptional customer service to our customers. We are happy to work with Employment Ontario to help young people in Peterborough find a job that they can be proud of.”
 — Dave Morello, Owner, Morello’s Independent Grocer

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