'This investment will help them earn a higher quality education to ensure they acquire the skills they need to find good jobs'
Ontario is investing $75 million over the next two years to help apprentices in skilled trades cover living expenses during their in-class training.
"Demand for workers in the trades will only increase as the province continues down the path of renewal, growth and economic recovery. That's why our government is replacing lost wages for apprentices while they are in training so they can focus on completing their education and not having to worry about paying the bills," says Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development. "This investment will help them earn a higher quality education to ensure they acquire the skills they need to find good jobs and careers in the trades."
This investment includes:
- The Grant for Apprentice Learning, a $5.8-million commitment to support those ineligible for Employment Insurance (EI) while attending in-class training.
- The Apprentice Development Benefit, a $24-million commitment to increase the maximum benefit rates for EI-eligible apprentices attending full-time in-class training.
- The In-Class Enhancement Fund, a $211.9-million commitment to support training providers so they can deliver higher quality training.
- The Apprenticeship Capital Grant, a $24-million commitment to training providers to upgrade their facilities with state-of-the-art and modern equipment.
- $5.1 million for training delivery agents, and an additional $500,000 for pre-apprenticeship training service providers, to assist them with implementing COVID-19 health and safety measures during the pandemic (for example, the purchase of personal protective equipment, cleaning products and digital supports).
- $4.7 million as part of a multi-year $19.4-million investment in the development of a client-facing digital system to support the skilled trades and apprenticeship system in Ontario. The portal will provide skilled trades and apprenticeship clients with secure and convenient access to online information and services and will bring Ontario in line with digital delivery channels in other provinces.
- $2.5 million this year and $7.5 million next year to launch the new non-repayable Tools Grant.
Previously, Ontario invested $37 million to help more than 15,000 people train for new jobs and upgrade their skills and $1.49 million for skills training in the London area to help students and other jobseekers gain in-demand training for future employment.
"We’re strong supporters of the government’s efforts to implement a new model that ensures our skilled trades and apprenticeship system is in step with the times, puts skilled workers first, and supports them in their journey of training, no matter which trade they pursue,” says Karen Renkema, chair, Ontario Skilled Trade Alliance. “We look forward to working with the government to build a system that provides workers with the skills that employers and our economy need now, and well into the future.”
Last month, the federal government announced it is partnering with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) employers across the country to provide more than 900 internship opportunities for Canadian students. It also said it is significantly scaling up the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy.
Ontario is also appointing a five-member Skilled Trades Panel that will provide advice and recommendations to the minister of labour, training and skills development on the replacement of the Ontario College of Trades with a new approach to providing services, including compliance with compulsory training and certification requirements. The panel will also provide guidance on the criteria and process used to make decisions on the classification and training for the trades.