The START program encourages employers to hire unemployed Nova Scotians requiring work experience resulting in good jobs for Nova Scotians and good employees for employers.

Program Information

Program Objective

The START Program will encourage employers to hire Nova Scotians requiring work experience.

Financial incentives will be provided to employers with a labour need willing to support ready-to-work Nova Scotians. Incentives will vary depending on the type of employment offered and the skill level of the employee.

Who delivers START?

Employment Nova Scotia will lead this program and works in partnership with Nova Scotia Works Centres across the province.
The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency administers the Apprenticeship START Program to encourage employers to register, retain and support their apprentices to completion during their apprenticeship journey. For more information or to make an application to the

Apprenticeship START program, please visit the Apprenticeship website here:

Eligibility Information

Am I eligible for participation in the START Program?

You may be eligible for START if:

      • You are unemployed;
      • You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident legally entitled to work in Canada and are a Nova Scotia resident; or
      • You are an international graduate who meets eligibility requirements.

START is available to:

All businesses, organizations (Not for profit and Social Enterprises) that have business locations and jobs in Nova Scotia. The START program has a focus on small to medium sized enterprises.

Companies with headquarters outside of Nova Scotia are eligible to apply only if they also have a physical location in Nova Scotia.

Financial incentives are available to Nova Scotia employers looking to hire ready- to- work Nova Scotians. Incentives vary based on the type of employment offered and the skill level of the employee. If you would like additional information about eligibility, please contact 1-877-223-0888 or read the START Program Guidelines.

Application Information

How do I apply?
    • As part of the application process all potential applicants must visit a Nova Scotia Works Centre.
    • Applicants will meet with a certified staff person to determine if START, or any of our other programs, are the right fit for you.
    • Organization applications can be submitted online using LaMPSS  and will be reviewed by ENS staff. Application assistance will be provided to employers by ENS when required.
    • To register for LaMPSS, please call 1-877-223-0888 to obtain a registration package or click here to download a copy of the LaMPSS Organization Registration forms.
    • For more details on the application process and program eligibility/information please download the START Program Guidelines.
    • The Supplemental Form was retired in June 2019. Employers are not required to complete a START Supplemental Form to support the START Application.

What else do I need to know?

  • Businesses and Not for Profit organizations with an identified vacancy or need are eligible for support. Support to employers will enable them to take the time they need to develop the skills and abilities of a new employee, maximizing their potential and contributing to the ongoing success of the enterprise.
  • Incentive amounts will be determined by Employment Nova Scotia and the incentive amount received by an employer will be evaluated on the following factors:
    • Is the employer hiring an unemployed person with a lack of work experience?
    • Is the employer hiring an unemployed person who has challenges that prevent labour market attachment?
    • Is the employer hiring for a position that supports a priority sector in Nova Scotia (e.g. ocean technology, information and communication technology, financial services, clean technology, life sciences, aerospace and defense)?
    • Other factors may apply.
  • Incentives can be used to pay for individual’s wages, MERC, training costs or other related costs associated with hiring of a new employee.

NOTE:If an individual is hired before the employer’s application has been approved by Employment Nova Scotia, the application will not be eligible for funding.”

Nova Scotia Works Centres offer a wide variety of employment services for both businesses and individuals including job search, career exploration and much more.  Nova Scotia Works also has services available for employers, for more information please contact your local NS Works Centre (


- Sample START Activity Report for Employers
- Sample START Financial Report for Employers

Contact Information