WorkBC Wage Subsidy

Your business could receive funding through the WorkBC Wage Subsidy. It provides eligible employers with funding to hire new employees, recall laid-off employees and facilitate work experience and on-the-job training to suitable new candidates.


Here is some basic information to help you decide if the WorkBC Wage Subsidy is right for you:

  • The job will need to be primarily based and performed in B.C.
  • Most wage subsidies last for up to 24 weeks
  • You can have five active wage subsidies (per CRA Business Number) at one time
  • You can have a maximum of 10 subsidized employees per year
  • You can recall a laid-off employee
  • You cannot fill a vacant position caused by a layoff (unless that employee declines the position)
  • You cannot be receiving Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for the same employee, for the same time period

Wage Subsidy rates for WorkBC Clients:

  • First 8 Weeks: 50% subsidy (up to $500 weekly)
  • Second 8 Weeks: 25% subsidy (up to $250 weekly)
  • Final 8 Weeks: 15% subsidy (up to $150 weekly)

Wage Subsidy rates for Priority Clients:

  • First 8 Weeks: 75% subsidy (up to $750 weekly)
  • Second 8 Weeks: 50% subsidy (up to $500 weekly)
  • Final 8 Weeks: 25% subsidy (up to $250 weekly)

Who are Priority Clients?

  • The Priority Clients category includes Youth (aged 16-30) and individuals with disabilities (either Persons with disabilities (PWD) designation through the Ministry of Social
  • Development and Poverty Reduction or who have had a disability confirmed through a WorkBC Centre. 



Job Seeker Eligibility

All unemployed residents of B.C. who are identified through the WorkBC Employment Services Contractor or an employer identified job seeker may be eligible to participate in this service.

Employer Eligibility
An Employer must:

  • Be a registered business in B.C.
  • Be compliant with all applicable legislation including, but not limited to, the Employment Standards Act, Workers Compensation Act, Income Tax Act (Canada) and the Employment Insurance Act (Canada)
  • Be at Arm’s Length from the WorkBC Employment Services Contractor and potential employee
  • Offer a full-time position of approximately 35 hours per week, unless the Client has a special need for fewer hours per week and this need is documented (these clients must be Case Managed Clients who are matched through a WorkBC Centre)
  • Offer Insurable Employment, as defined by the Employment Insurance Act (Canada)
  • Offer a position where the job and work are primarily done in B.C.
  • Not fill a position vacant because of a layoff (other than by filling it with the laid-off person, unless that person declines the position)
  • Confirm that the client is not an existing employee of the Employer or if the client is an existing employee, that they have been laid-off and are being recalled
  • Confirm that no workers will experience a reduction in hours or be laid off as a result of the Wage Subsidy placement
  • Offer the likelihood of long-term employment or provide needed work experience to enable client to achieve long-term employment elsewhere
  • Pay reasonable, competitive wages that are reflective of the prevailing wage rate for the position

An Employer must not:

  • Be either the Government of BC or the Government of Canada
  • Be considered “public sector”, including: municipalities, schools, school boards, public universities and colleges, hospitals, health authorities or “other government entities”
  • Offer Employment based on 100 percent commission or piecework. Employment including some earnings based on commission or piecework may be supported, but the Client must be paid a guaranteed labour market wage in addition to any commission-based earnings
  • Be an active WorkBC Client participating in Self-Employment Services
  • Offer a position working under a WorkBC Contract
  • Be the WorkBC Contractor that provides the Wage Subsidy
  • Be in receipt of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), or other Wage
  • Subsidy funding for the same client WorkBC will be subsidizing during the same period


Questions and Answers

What does it mean to be “at arm’s length”?
Arm’s length means two parties (i.e. each may be an individual, a corporation, society or another type of organization) that are free and independent of each other. There is no special relationship between them (e.g. family) and each has no authority to control the other nor does a common entity control both. If two parties are not arms-length from each other, any dealings between them may result in a perceived or actual conflict of interests and should be carefully considered.

For the purposes of arm’s length, a family member includes immediate family as well as other relatives and individuals considered to be like family, whether or not related by marriage, common-law partnership, or any legal parent-child relationship.

Is the Wage Subsidy service only available for B.C. jobs?
Yes, all individuals subsidized under a WorkBC Wage Subsidy must be in a position where the job and work are primarily done in B.C.

Can I receive the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the WorkBC Wage Subsidy for the same employee?
You cannot receive both for the same WorkBC client at the same time. You may be eligible for the WorkBC Wage Subsidy if CEWS has ended.

What is the maximum number of subsidies an Employer is eligible for?
An Employer can have up to 5 active Wage Subsidy agreements per CRA Business Number at one time and a maximum of 10 subsidized clients per year.

Can I access WorkBC Wage Subsidy for any job seeker who is underemployed?
Employees who are underemployed are not eligible for a Wage Subsidy. However, they are encouraged to contact their local WorkBC Centre to enquire about services and supports that might be available to help them achieve full-time employment.

Can Employers recall employees who were laid off?
Yes, but employers must not fill a position vacant due to a layoff (other than with the laid-off person, unless they have declined the position).

Can I provide a wage subsidy that is less than 35 hours per week?
The 35 hours per week requirement is approximate, but the intent of the Wage Subsidy service is to support full-time placements. Job seekers who require less than a full-time Wage Subsidy must contact their WorkBC Centre (these clients must be Case Managed Clients who are matched through a WorkBC Centre).


How do I apply?
There are two ways to apply:

Using one easy online application form
• To hire someone new
• Recall an employee from layoff
• Get WorkBC to match you with a local job seeker

Employers who need an employee can either:


WorkBC Centres administer the wage subsidy program, they can:
• Help you with your application
• Tell you more about the program
• Match you with a qualified job seeker

What information do I need for the application?
You will need to supply some basic information about your business, such as contact
information, address and your unique CRA Business Number.

You will have to answer questions such as:

  • Do you have third party liability coverage?
  • Do you have WorkSafeBC coverage?
  • Do you meet the eligibility criteria?
  • Are you compliant with all applicable laws?

You need about 10 minutes to complete the application. Our WorkBC Centre will contact you if they need more information for your application, or if your application is

  • If you have an identified job seeker in mind, you will need to submit their email in your application as well.
  • If you have a position available but have not identified an employee, you can apply to be matched to a qualified, job-ready candidate. WorkBC will inform you about the next
  • steps in the application process once you have applied. 

Do wage subsidy employees need to be WorkBC clients?
Yes, employers can:
• Match existing WorkBC Case Managed clients to opportunities
• Or, they can be identified by an employer

These job seekers will need to register with WorkBC Self-Serve using the Online Employment Services portal

How does my identified job seeker register?
When you submit your application including an identified individuals’ email, they will
receive an email outlining the next steps.

What financial supports is an employer eligible for?
Employers may be eligible for supports, such as:

  • Some of the employee’s wages (See Wage subsidy rates in section 2 of this guide)
  • Employer portion of the Mandatory Employment Related Costs (MERCs)- EI, CPP, WorkSafeBC, Vacation Pay
  • Disability supports to reduce barriers for an employee to work


Contact us

At any time, you can contact us. Our staff will be pleased to help you complete your application or answer your questions.