Indigenous Workforce Development Stream

The intent of the Indigenous Workforce Development Stream is to strengthen and develop Northern Ontario’s Indigenous workforce through business partnerships by offering internships to Indigenous persons.

Who is Eligible?

Businesses, municipalities, Indigenous communities, and not-for-profit organizations located in Northern Ontario that have been in operation for at least one year and have minimum of one full-time employee.

What Projects are Eligible?

Salaries/wages and employer’s portion of Mandatory Employment Related Costs (MERCs) (e.g.: Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, mandatory minimum vacation pay, as per Employment Standards Act) for a limited-term internship position of 52 weeks (with at least 35 hours of work per week) for candidates that:

  • Identify as an Indigenous person, including First Nation, Metis, or Inuit.
  • Are new entrants into the work force, are transitioning to a new career, or the unemployed or underemployed who are entering a new field;
  • Have not previously participated in a NOHFC-funded internship;
  • Are at least 18 years of age; and
  • Reside, and be legally entitled to work, in Canada.

An employer that hires an apprentice under a registered apprenticeship program is eligible for funding provided that all program eligibility criteria are met.

An organization is eligible for two internship positions at a given time.

Colleges, universities and research institutions (as defined by NOHFC) may be eligible for up to up to five research positions, in addition to two regular internship positions.

Only eligible project costs for 52 weeks of work will be reimbursed under this program.

An extended placement period (up to 18 months) will be considered for apprenticeship internships to accommodate any necessary off-site training and/or educational requirements. Only 52 weeks of work are eligible for reimbursement within an extended placement.

An eligible business is potentially eligible for a two-year internship where the intern must complete a minimum number of hours of professional experience (greater than 52 weeks of full-time employment) for a certification, designation, or registered apprenticeship. A separate application for second-year funding is required.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • The extent to which the position addresses a labour shortage or supports the development of a skilled trade or profession in Northern Ontario
  • The opportunity for the placement to result in a full-time, permanent job with the applicant or another Northern Ontario business
  • The quality of the skill development opportunity and the potential for the position to provide specific and recognizable transferrable skills
  • The quality of the positions work/training plan and direct onsite supervision methods


For eligible municipalities, Indigenous communities, and not-for-profit organizations funding is in the form of a conditional contribution up to 90% of an Indigenous intern’s salary and employer’s portion of MERCs to a maximum of $35,000 per year.

For eligible businesses, funding in the form of a conditional contribution of up to 75 % of an Indigenous intern’s salary and employer’s portion of MERCs to a maximum of $52,500 per year.

Payment will generally be made on a cost-incurred basis with payments made at six months and the end of the internship.

NOHFC funding under this program, when combined with other provincial and federal government sources, will generally not exceed 90% of eligible costs for municipalities, Indigenous communities and not-for-profit employers, and 75% of eligible costs for businesses hiring an indigenous intern.

Funding for each project is determined by the NOHFC Board of Directors, and limited funding is available. Not all projects meeting the criteria will necessarily be approved.

What is Not Eligible?

  • Discretionary benefits paid by the employer i.e. sick pay, group medical/dental plans
  • Training expenses, computers, equipment, travel and accommodations, etc.
  • Positions that displace existing employees
  • Positions that, in the opinion of the NOHFC, involve general, manual labour or that require minimal training or training for less than six months
  • Positions that are clerical in nature (e.g. duties such as answering phones, filing, general office work, etc.)
  • Positions that primarily involve retail and general sales

Program Requirements

  • All organizations are responsible for recruiting appropriate internship candidates.
  • A fair and transparent selection process must be conducted by the organization for each position. Exceptions may be made for apprenticeship internships.
  • Organizations cannot hire immediate family members or relatives of owners and directors. Exceptions may be made in smaller, Northern communities with a limited labour base.
  • The intern must be provided with direct onsite supervision.

Additional Resources



Q. How do I recruit an intern that self-identifies as Indigenous for the Indigenous Workforce Development Stream?


A. NOHFC does not provide employers with recruitment advice. We encourage you to seek advice directly from your own employment/Human Resources advisors. You can also find information and resources on the Ontario Human Rights Commission's and the Canadian Human Rights Commission's websites that may be useful, depending on the jurisdiction that applies to your business.

Q. What type of insurance is my organization obligated to maintain?


A. A successful funding recipient is obligated to demonstrate that it maintains all the necessary and appropriate insurance required to run its business and employ the intern, including commercial general liability insurance on an occurrence basis for third party bodily injury, personal injury and property damage, to an inclusive limit of not less than $2 million per occurrence. This is usually done by submitting an insurance certificate obtained from your insurer.

The certificate of insurance must also include:

  • Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and each of its directors, officers, agents, advisors, and representatives as additional insureds with respect to liability arising in the course of performance of the recipient’s obligations under, or otherwise in connection with, the legal agreement;
  • cross-liability clause;
  • contractual liability coverage; and
  • 30 days written notice of cancellation or material change.

Q. Can we hire an intern prior to receiving funding approval from NOHFC?


A. If an internship candidate is hired prior to the applicant receiving funding approval and the internship is declined for funding by NOHFC, the applicant does so at its own risk and NOHFC bears no responsibility for any costs incurred by the applicant with respect to the internship.

If an internship candidate is hired prior to the applicant receiving funding approval and the internship is subsequently approved for funding by NOHFC, the internship candidate that has been hired will only be approved by NOHFC if the applicant can demonstrate to NOHFC’s satisfaction that the internship candidate has been selected through a fair and transparent selection/hiring process (exceptions may be made for apprenticeship internships), is an eligible candidate in accordance with the program guidelines, and meets all other program requirements.

Q. Can I hire an intern before I have submitted my application to NOHFC?


A. No.

Q. What is a fair and transparent selection/hiring process?


A. You are required to post a job advertisement in at least one public forum (e.g. job bank). NOHFC will require proof of the posting, including the opening and closing dates of the posting.

Q. Who is eligible for a second-year internship?


A: You may be eligible for a second year when the intern must complete a minimum number of hours of professional experience that is greater than 52 weeks of full-time employment to obtain a certification, designation, or for a registered apprenticeship.