Youth Employment and Skills Program: Step 1. What this program offers

Step 1. What this program offers

Intake period: Closed

The application intake period is closed.

The Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP) will contribute approximately $13.5 million to projects that employ youth and youth facing barriers. Each project will be eligible to receive up to $14,000 in matching funds to employ one (1) employee. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is one of several Government of Canada departments participating in the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy.


Youth facing barriers - definitions


First Nations, Inuit and/or Métis are 3 main Indigenous groups the program aims to serve better in the labor market. A youth may self-identify as belonging to more than one of these 3 Indigenous groups. The program serves all of the Indigenous subgroups, including Non-Status First Nations.

Living with a disability (physical, mental health-related or learning disability)

Disability means any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment — or a functional limitation — whether permanent, temporary or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person's full and equal participation in society.

Racialized youth (formerly visible minority)

Racialized youth are a group of people categorized according to ethnic/cultural characteristics and subjected to structural discrimination. The use of the term "racialized" acknowledges that race is a social construct that can negatively impact a person's social, political and economic life. (Examples: Black, East Asian, Latino/Latina/Latinx, Middle Eastern and/or North African, Pacific Islander, South Asian, Southeast Asian, mixed, another identity)

Recent newcomer to Canada

A newcomer youth is defined as having obtained permanent resident status in Canada; or, been granted permanent refugee status in Canada within the last 5 years. Temporary residents are not eligible as per the Program's Terms and Conditions (people on work or study visas, temporary residents with work permits, etc.).


2SLGBTQQIA+ is the acronym used to refer to the community of individuals in Canada who self-identify as Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and additional sexually and gender diverse people.

Person living in an Official Languages Minority Community (OLMC)

OLMC are defined by both their geographic location and collective identity associated with the use of an official language in a minority setting. A resident of an OLMC is an individual whose first official language is not the majority language in their province or territory. This includes:

  • A Francophone residing outside of Quebec
  • An Anglophone residing in Quebec
Residing in a remote, northern and/or fly-in community

The program recognizes that the lines separating remote, Northern, and Fly-in communities are not clear, and often overlap. For simplicity;

  • A remote community is defined as one with no or little access to the services of the closest community with more than 1,000 residents and/or one that is without year-round road access.
  • A northern community is considered to be any community in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon.
  • A fly-in community refers to any community that requires scheduled or chartered flights to enter or leave for most of the year.
Living in a low income household

The program adopts Statistics Canada's definition of a Low-income household (after tax). The Low-income measure is a fixed percentage (50%) of median adjusted (after-tax) income of households.

  • For a 1 person household: $27,352 or less;
  • For a 2 person household: $38,682 or less (for example, a child and one parent/guardian);
  • For a 3 person household: $47,375 or less;
  • For a 4 person household: $54,704 or less;
  • For a 5 person household: $61,161 or less;
  • For a 6 person household: $66,998 or less;
  • For a 7 person household: $72,367 or less.
Employee is a single parent

This refers to the participant as a single parent, and does not include youth who grew up in a single parent household.

Early leaver of high school

A person who:

  • has not completed the final year of secondary school (high school)
  • has not received their high school diploma (or an equivalent level of education)
  • is not undertaking full-time study and has no intention to do so in the near future


The program offers support for 50% of wages to a maximum of $14,000. If approved, the following employers are eligible to receive 80% of total eligible costs, up to a maximum of $14,000:

  • Indigenous individuals or organizations
  • Employers who hire a youth facing barriers

The program can also provide up to $5,000 in additional support to offset the employment barrier faced by the employee hired.

If a youth facing barriers must relocate within Canada, reasonable expenses directly related to the relocation may also be eligible under barrier expenses. Barrier-related expenses cannot exceed $5,000 and will be supported at 80%. Non-barrier youth may also be eligible for pre-approved relocation costs at the 50% funding level to a maximum of $5,000.

Cost sharing

Contributions towards eligible costs will normally be shared between AAFC and you as follows:

Non-barrier applications

  • 50% of Total salary to a maximum of $14,000
  • If applicable, 50% of Total relocation costs to a maximum of $5,000 (can be applied for at a later date, if conditional approval is received for initial application)
    • AAFC — maximum of 50%
    • You — minimum of 50%

Barrier applications

  • 80% of Total salary to a maximum of $14,000
  • If applicable, 80% of Total relocation costs and/or barrier-related costs to a maximum of $5,000 (can be applied for at a later date, if conditional approval is received for initial application)
    • AAFC — maximum of 80%
    • You — minimum of 20%

Stacking of government funds is permitted but you may not profit from the project. You cannot receive more than 100% of the total project amount in total financing (municipal, provincial or federal). The onus is on you to make sure the 'other program' allows stacking.