Graduate to Opportunity

Hire a recent graduate and the Government of Nova Scotia will cover a portion of their salary. Learn how.

The Graduate to Opportunity (GTO) program helps build a stronger workforce and retain young people in Nova Scotia with a salary incentive that makes it easier to hire recent graduates.

GTO Grow

GTO Grow is for Nova Scotia employers looking to hire a recent graduate into a new, permanent, full-time position that pays at least $37,500 a year.

Employers receive 25% of the first year's salary and 12.5% of the second year's salary.

Employers can be from any sector and hire graduates for jobs related to their field of study. 

You can apply for the subsidy if you fall into any of these categories:

  • a small business with fewer than 100 employees
  • a start-up company incorporated within 2 years of the application date
  • a social enterprise, non-profit organization or registered charity with recognized standing

GTO Innovate

GTO Innovate is for Nova Scotia businesses looking to hire a recent masters or PhD grad for an innovation-focused job that pays at least $60,000 a year.

Eligible employers receive 30% of the first year's salary and 15% of the second year's salary.

At least half of the new graduate's time must be spent on innovation-based activities like:

  • applied research
  • product and service development
  • market analysis for new complex products or activity
  • improvement of product quality, customer services and business efficiencies
  • process development or improvement
  • technical feasibility studies and pilots for product launches or market entry

For GTO Innovate, you must operate a for-profit business that has no more than 200 full-time employees.

Additional subsidy

Both GTO Grow and GTO Innovate provide an additional 10% in subsidy in year 1 if the employer hires a graduate that self-identifies as Mi'kmaq or Indigenous, African Nova Scotian, a visible minority, a person with a disability, member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, a woman in an occupation where they are under-represented or an international student.

If you have any questions regarding eligibility or if you are not sure which stream to apply for, contact us.

Other eligibility criteria

The graduate you hire must have successfully completed a post-secondary program within 1 year of their first day of work (see the list of recognized post-secondary institutions).

The program can't consider graduate-employees who have been working for the employer on a permanent basis before the GTO application is approved.

You are not eligible for this incentive if you will receive other government wage funding for the position, although you may receive funds for related projects.

Apprentices in registered trades aren't eligible for the Graduate to Opportunity program. If you want to hire an apprentice, you need to apply for the START program.

Full details on employer, employee, and job eligibility are included in program guidelines.

How to apply

If your business is registered in the online Labour Market Programs Support System (LaMPSS), you can apply now.

Apply for GTO Grow

Apply for GTO Innovate

If you don’t have a LaMPSS account, you can register by completing the External Access Form (PDF) and emailing it to lampss@novascotia.ca.

Before you start

Before you apply, you need to:

How long it takes

It should take 2 weeks for the program to review your application and let you know if your application is approved.

Contact

Labour, Skills and Immigration
PO Box 697
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 2T8

Phone: 902-424-6000
Toll-free: 1-800-424-5418
Fax: 902-428-2037

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