Good investments aren’t the only way to generate returns for clients. Clients will also appreciate it when you can find them alternate ways to earn income, such as through government grants, tax breaks and bursaries. Here, we look at sources of money for students.

Post-secondary scholarships and bursaries

Every post-secondary school has its own scholarships, awards and bursaries. And many private organizations offer scholarships for students studying specific fields.

Scholarships are based on academic marks, bursaries are based on assessed financial need, and awards are a combination of grades, activities like volunteering and sports, and need.

How much is available: From $500 to more than $20,000, depending on the course of study, type of scholarship and funding provider. Examples include:

  • Retail as a Career Scholarship Program, offered by the Retail Council of Canada—one $5,000, one $3,000 and 24 scholarships of $1,000 each available
  • Ada Slaight Scholarship for OCAD University—$6,800 per year, renewable (9 available)

EligibilityEligibility: Criteria vary by funding source. The application process may require essays, proof of enrollment or evidence of volunteer work. Many needs-based bursaries require detailed financial statements to assess eligibility.


Degree of difficulty

9 out of 10.

Sites such as and allow a registrant to search by field of study.

Advisor commitmentAdvisor commitment: Many bursaries require detailed financial information, including clients’ net worth statements.

Cost to applyCost to apply: Most scholarships don’t charge application fees. There can be costs for postage, photocopying documents, certifying information or obtaining transcripts.

Where to applyWhere to apply: Varies by funding provider. Admission scholarships that are based on marks and offered by post-secondary institutions don’t require applications (other than to the institution itself). Private or third-party scholarships and bursaries will require separate applications.

Additional detailsAdditional details: Pamela Woodburn, acting associate registrar for awards at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., says that researching available financial assistance takes time, and there are strict application deadlines. While websites are a good way to do research, not all sites are current. Post-secondary schools employ staff at their student awards offices who are responsible for being familiar with scholarship and bursary options. An often-overlooked source of scholarships or bursaries is your client’s employer or, in some cases, the child’s employer. For example, Canadian Tire has offered a $1,000 annual, renewable scholarship to employees or employees’ children. Some places of worship, as well as charity and service organizations, also offer bursaries and scholarships.

Summer Company Program, Province of Ontario

Ontario has a program that assists students who want to run their own summer businesses. Both start-up funds and mentoring opportunities are available.


Degree of difficulty

8.5 out of 10.

How much is available: Maximum $3,000—up to $1,500 to assist with start-up costs, plus an additional $1,500 when applicants successfully complete the program requirements. Recipients must allocate grant money using specific criteria.

EligibilityEligibility: A student must:

  • go to high school, college or university in Ontario;
  • live in Ontario;
  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • be between 15 and 29 years old (if under 18, a parent needs to sign the application);
  • not already be running a business;
  • not be working at another job or going to school for more than 12 hours a week during the program; and
  • return to school after the program ends. The business must operate in Ontario on a full-time basis, and be:
  • a sole proprietorship or corporation (where the student is majority shareholder);
  • an independent business venture (not a part of an existing or family business); or
  • a self-employed company for income tax purposes.

Time CommitmentTime commitment: An average of 35 hours per week, for a minimum of eight weeks in a row for high school students or a minimum of 12 weeks in a row for post-secondary students.

The application deadline is May 8, 2015 (Specialist High Skills Major co-op students have an earlier deadline of April 30).

Prior to the second portion of the grant being allocated, participants must:

  • fulfill all program requirements according to program guidelines, and run the business in accordance with the approved business plan;
  • attend an exit interview at the end of the summer;
  • complete the anonymous online participant survey; and
  • submit a signed affirmation to confirm their return to school, which includes:
  • a cash flow record of business operations;
  • copies of all bank statements; and
  • copies of all business receipts and invoices organized, totalled and reconciled to the cash flow and award allocation.

Cost to applyCost to apply: No direct costs. Indirect costs include accounting, bookkeeping or legal fees, and other start-up related costs.

Where to applyWhere to apply: Ontario residents must contact a small business enterprise centre.

Additional detailsAdditional details: The business must run from June to Labour Day, although it may continue after the student returns to school.

Lisa MacColl is an Ontario-based financial writer.