The District School Board of Niagara encourages the enhancement of the curriculum through experiential learning including job shadowing, job twinning, work experience, virtual work experience, cooperative education, school-work transition programs and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (O.Y.A.P.) Every student should be given an appropriate opportunity to participate in an experiential learning program, subject to the minimum age requirements established by the Ministry of Labour Guidelines.
All District School Board of Niagara personnel responsible for the delivery of such programming are expected to adhere to the regulations outlined in the Ministry of Education publication “The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 11 and 12: Cooperative Education, 2018”.
In order to ensure appropriate placements, Principals must ensure that school staff make contact with the employer and complete a pre-placement assessment prior to the commencement of a student's placement. Students in cooperative education placements have a right to work in safe and healthy workplaces. DSBN Cooperative Education personnel will assist students in addressing any health and safety concerns if necessary. If DSBN personnel or students have serious or ongoing concerns regarding health and safety issues at a specific work site, they should discuss this with the Principal responsible for the supervision of the student seeking a placement at that site.
It is not general practice for a cooperative education student to receive remuneration for work done in a placement, since the emphasis is on learning. However, provided that all the criteria for the cooperative education program are met, the Principal may permit a cooperative education student to receive a wage while at their co-op placement, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure. This provision is in keeping with the Learning to 18 initiative and may help students meet their diploma requirements and make the transition to post-secondary destinations.
Board personnel, with the assistance of participating businesses, will follow proper Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (W.S.I.B.) procedures and requirements as outlined in the Ministry of Education Policy Program Memorandum 76A. If an employer is paying a student, they must also be paying the WSIB insurance. The exception to this rule is if the employer is in an industry that is not required by law to pay for WSIB insurance, such as the hairdressing industry and employment in a bank. In such cases, the Ministry of Education will cover the cost of WSIB insurance for the duration of the co-op placement.
Every effort will be made to co-operate with other School Boards and community organizations that arrange work placements for students in order to ensure the effective delivery of planned learning experiences in the community.