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Ontario unveils plan to spend nearly $300 million to boost skilled trades

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March 21, 2023
By Talent Canada

A worker with a safety visor welding. Photo: Adobe Stock

Ontario is spending $224 million to build and upgrade training centres as part of its plans to get more people to pursue careers in the skilled trades and address the labour shortage.

And it is setting aside $75 million over the next three years to support operations and programming at new and existing centres to help prepare workers for jobs as electricians, welders and mechanics.

“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 funding

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.”

300,000 jobs unfilled

Nearly 300,000 jobs are going unfilled across the province, costing billions in lost productivity. To address this, the Skills 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.”

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, the province said.

“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.

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