ontario skills development fund

Ontario is now paying for people to get jobs in roofing and drywalling

Ontario continues to make good on promises to beef up the province's skilled workforce amid a massive shortage of employees in skilled trades such as electricians, draftspeople, millwrights, equipment operators, mechanics, construction workers and all types of technician.

The Doug Ford government has been announcing more and more grant programs over the last year aimed toward getting people trained up on one of the skills that are so desperately needed to build out all of the infrastructure projects they've pledged.

Or, as the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development calls it, "a more than $200 million initiative that supports innovative programs that connect job seekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying careers close to home."

In March, the province unveiled a $13 million investment into projects related to the training and employment of electricians through its aforementioned $200 million Skills Development Fund.

Today, April 19, Ford and company announced a similar program (also funded by the $200 million Ontario Skills Development Fund) that will offer a total of 80 people in the Niagara Region "the opportunity to get the skills they need for well-paying careers as roofers and drywall installers."

"The Ontario government is working for workers by investing over $1.2 million in skilled trades training for unemployed and underemployed people in Niagara Region," reads a release issued by the Ministry of Labour on Tuesday.

"Training will lead to paid job placements with local employers building the homes that families need."

This program, unlike the electrician grant, is open only to people who are willing to work in the Niagara Region. Participants will receive technical training at the School of Trades at Niagara College, where they can choose either roofing or drywall installation as a trade.

"For eight weeks participants will take courses on health and safety, tools and techniques, and other skills specific to their trade, which both pay $27 an hour on average," reads the release.

"Each participant will get a hard hat, steel-toed safety boots, safety glasses and professional-grade tools they need to perform their training — all of which they get to keep. They will then transition to a six-week paid job placement with a local employer in the community. Employers are eligible for up to $5,000 per participant to offset wages paid."

The current Ontario government has previously cited a labour shortage in the skilled trades that is estimated to grow to about 350,000 workers by 2025 without intervention.

"All across our province, we continue to see a shortage of workers in the skilled trades, for many life-long careers that pay six figures with defined benefits and pensions," said Labour Minister Monte McNaughton on Tuesday. "These unfilled jobs cost our economy billions in lost productivity and mean families are waiting longer for the goods and services they need."

McNaughton declined to comment this time around on whether ideal candidates would shower at morning or at night.

Lead photo by

Mike Gifford

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