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Ontario provides financial aid to workers pivoting to second careers


The Ontario government is increasing financial supports available and simplifying the application process for individuals applying to the Second Career program.

As the province’s economy begins to reopen, these changes will make it easier for laid-off and unemployed workers to pursue training and start new and better careers.

Details were shared July 13 by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, who was joined by Drew Dilkens, Mayor of Windsor.

“Increasing support for laid-off and unemployed workers is key to our mission of spreading opportunity more fairly and widely,” said Minister McNaughton. “No worker will be left behind in our recovery. Through improvements like these, our single focus is on giving hardworking men and women the tools they need to start a good job and make a better living for themselves and their families.”

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As of July 13, laid-off and unemployed workers will experience a faster Second Career application process. They will no longer need to provide burdensome amounts of documentation to get funding. The program is increasing weekly basic living supports for rent, mortgage and other expenses up to $500 a week. Additionally, transportation and child care supports are being enhanced to better reflect the costs that people currently face.

These new changes follow improvements the government made to this program in December 2020. In the first five months of 2021, 2,092 workers started training through Second Career, an increase of 109 per cent in comparison to the same period last year.

Second Career is one of many training programs that the Employment Ontario network of employment service providers is offering online and at about 700 locations across the province. These services are free for job seekers, workers and employers and help boost training, employment and economic prosperity in Ontario.

Quick facts

  • Second Career funding helps laid-off, unemployed workers pay for the tuition of training programs of 52 weeks duration or less, including eligible university and college courses, micro-credential programs and other vocational training programs.
  • The maximum funding support that a Second Career client can receive to help pay for their education and living expenses is $28,000.
  • The 2021-22 budget for the Second Career program is $82.4 million.
  • Since its launch in 2008, the Second Career program has helped more than 117,000 people train for new careers and land new jobs.
  • In May 2021, employment in Ontario was still 4.1 per cent below the pre-COVID 19 level of February 2020.
  • As part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario continues to support workers hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic by investing an additional $614.3 million during 2020-21 and 2021-22 to provide targeted employment and training supports.