TORONTO : To help tackle the province’s labour shortage and get more people into rewarding careers in the skilled trades, the Ontario government is investing $224 million more to build and upgrade training centres. The province also plans to invest $75 million more over the next three years to support the operations and programing at new and existing centres to prepare workers for in-demand careers like electricians, welders and mechanics.
“As we build Ontario, we’re providing more women and men with opportunities to begin or advance their careers in the skilled trades,” said Premier Doug Ford. “As our population grows, we’re working hand-in-hand with labour unions, business groups and our colleges and universities to train the skilled workforce that will build the roads, highways, houses, public transit, hospitals and schools our economy needs. It’s all hands on deck.”
Applications for the new Skills Development Fund (SDF) capital stream are expected to open in late spring and will provide eligible applicants, including unions, Indigenous centres, businesses and industry associations, with funding to build new training centres or to upgrade or convert their existing facilities into training centres with state-of-the-art design and technology. This includes facility renovations, retrofits, expansions, repairs and building construction.
“Ontario is facing the largest labour shortage in a generation, which means when you have a career in the skilled trades, you have a career for life,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Today, we’re supporting employers, unions and other training providers so that they can build and improve the facilities we need to attract and prepare our next generation of skilled trades workers for better jobs and bigger paycheques for themselves and their families.”
Nearly 300,000 jobs are going unfilled across the province, costing billions in lost productivity. To address this, the Skilled Development Fund capital stream will create opportunities for unions and training providers to improve and expand their facilities.
“LiUNA! 183 fully supports the Ontario Government’s investment in upskilling and re-training our workforce through the Skills Development Fund (SDF),” said Jack Oliveira, business manager of Local 183.
“The first three rounds of the SDF were tremendously successful and saw thousands of people receive skills for rewarding careers in industries such as the skilled trades. The newly announced ‘Capital’ stream will ensure that training providers in Ontario have the necessary tools and resources to continue their great work. We are proud to partner with Premier Ford and Minister McNaughton in this initiative.”
Through this program, the government is increasing the province’s training infrastructure to support growth in the skilled trades and other in-demand occupations. In addition, the investment will address gaps in skills training while supporting Ontario’s overall productivity.
“Ontario needs more workers in the skilled trades, especially as our government moves forward with the most ambitious capital plan in the province’s history”, said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “By leveraging the expertise of private sector unions, employers and training providers, we can train and retrain more skilled trades workers to build a strong Ontario.” With support from Infrastructure Ontario, the government is gathering feedback on program design and analysis of this will inform the final design of the program.
Ontario’s 2023 Budget will be released on March 23, 2023 and will detail the government’s responsible and targeted approach to support people and businesses while laying a strong economic foundation for future generations.
- Since 2020, the government has invested close to $700 million in the Skills Development Fund to support innovative training projects.
- In the first two funding rounds, Ontario supported 388 projects across the province, helping nearly 400,000 people take the next step in their careers in in-demand industries.
- One in five job openings in Ontario are projected to be in the skilled trades by 2026.• Ontario’s Skills Development Fund is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.
“I welcome the provincial government’s announcement that it is launching a capital stream of the Skills Development Fund. I want to thank Premier Ford and Minister Monte McNaughton for their continued efforts on this critical province-building priority. With the Ontario government’s support for building and expanding training centres, Vaughan residents will gain access to training for in-demand skills and, consequently, more employment opportunities. Our highly educated and multilingual population already ensures businesses from all industries have a qualified and ready labour pool, and the government’s new investment in the Skills Development Fund means that pool will grow even larger.”
– Steven Del Duca
Mayor of Vaughan
“Today’s announcement of adding a Capital Stream of investments to Skills Development Funded (SDF) projects will help boost an already-robust Building Trades training system that produces highly-skilled Apprentices and Journeypersons. Investing in the renovation and expansion of our facilities will help increase training capacity to meet employment growth in Ontario’s construction industry.”
– Marc Arsenault
Business Manager – Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario
“IUOE, Local 793 and the Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario (OETIO) commend Minister McNaughton’s commitment to advancing the skilled trades. Skilled trades workers are at the front line of our economic recovery, with Unions and businesses playing a crucial role in training our next generation of workers through apprenticeship programs. Financially supporting training institutes will help attract more people to the skilled trades, better prepare them for good paying jobs, and address industry needs.”
– Mike Gallagher
Local 793 Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers
“We are pleased to support Premier Ford and Minister McNaughton as they expand the Skills Development Fund to include capital projects. This new funding stream will allow for more much needed space to train more workers. It will now be easier for workers to access jobs in the skilled trades by creating more opportunities for unions to improve and expand their facilities.”
– Andrew Tarr
Business Manager and Financial Secretary, United Association Local 787, HVAC&R Workers of Ontario
“The Heat & Frost Insulators & Allied Workers Local 95 have always been a strong advocate of maintaining a workforce that is both current and up-to-date with necessary skills and techniques required for advancements and innovations in the construction skilled trades. We are glad to hear today’s announcement from the Premier, ensuring the upgrading and modernization of training facilities as part of the Skills Development Fund. With inflation on the rise, the Skills Development Fund Capital Stream can serve as a core component in the implementation of the growth and expansion to our workforce. This change is crucial in addressing our current labour shortage, helping to create additional space for the training of a new generation of skilled trade workers.”
– David Gardner
Business Manager and Financial Secretary, Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 95
“The Skills Development Fund is providing resources to Ontario citizens and the learned skills will provide a lifetime of employment opportunities. The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers are proud partners of this important skills development program, and we are excited to see the implementation of a stream dedicated for Capital projects. Major investment is required to upgrade Ontario’s training capacity to match the needs of the next generation.”
– Blair Allin
NCSO, Canadian Health and Safety Representative, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
“The UA Ontario Pipe Trades Council would like to commend Minister McNaughton for his leadership in supporting the capital requirements of our labour training system. Our capital needs are great and Minister McNaughton has answered our call.”
– Brad Hill
Business Manager, Ontario Pipe Trades Council
“The IBEW Construction Council of Ontario applauds Minister McNaughton’s vision to support IBEW’s labour capital training requirements as well as others in the construction sector. To my knowledge, no Ontario Government has ever stepped up to help IBEW with bricks and mortar dollars. Minister McNaughton deserves great credit for this initiative.”
– James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer, IBEW Construction Council of Ontario
“The Carpenters are thrilled with Minister McNaughton’s leadership in creating a new program to fund the bricks and mortar requirements of the unionized construction training sector. This is very welcome news.”
– Mark Lewis
Chief of Staff, Carpenters’ Regional Council, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
“The Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario welcomes the Ontario Government’s new initiative to provide capital training grants to employers, unions, and other training providers in the construction sector. Minister McNaughton’s efforts to assist contractors with their capital training requirements is incredibly positive. ”
– Graeme Aitken
Executive Director, Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario