ORILLIA — The Ontario government is providing financial support to workers by expanding the Second Career Program and proposing to extend the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit. The training program would be expanded to serve more people on social assistance, those who are self-employed, gig workers, youth, newcomers, and others who need a hand up, while the tax credit would be extended to 2022.
“As companies and jobs flock to Ontario, we want to ensure that our workers are trained to have the skills needed for these jobs of the future,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We are investing in our workers as we build an Ontario that leaves nobody behind.”
The Second Career program provides financial support to laid-off and unemployed workers. By Spring 2022, the Second Career program will begin supporting unemployed individuals with little or no work experience, those who are self-employed and those in the gig economy. The program will also offer much better access for those whose employment barriers may have been made worse by the pandemic, including young people, newcomers, people on social assistance, and people with disabilities.
“As we work to recover from the effects of the pandemic, Ontario continues to face the greatest labour shortage in a generation,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “This is why our government is investing in programs that will connect more people across our province to meaningful careers and financial independence that empowers them to build better lives for themselves and their loved ones.”
The government is also proposing to extend the temporary, refundable Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit to 2022, which was originally introduced in the 2021 Ontario Budget to help workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic get back into the workforce. The extension would provide an estimated $275 million in additional support to about 240,000 people, or $1,150 on average, to help Ontario workers continue to upgrade their skills.
“If you’re prepared to put in the work, time and effort to learn skills to support your family, the government is prepared to put in the money and give you every opportunity to see it through,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “That’s why we are proposing to extend the Ontario Job Training Tax Credit to help Ontario workers get the training they need to get good jobs right here in Ontario.”
Since revamping Second Career to prioritize those laid off during the pandemic, the number of workers accessing the program has increased by 71 per cent. Building on these changes, the proposed program expansion will help more local employers find the talent they need, while providing a hand up to those who want to re-train for in-demand careers.
These changes build on the government’s work to invest in skills training opportunities and attract investments that will create good, well-paying jobs in every region of the province.
On November 4, the government released the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario. The plan lays out how the government will build the foundation for Ontario’s recovery and prosperity by getting shovels in the ground on critical infrastructure, attracting increased investment, restoring leadership in auto manufacturing and other industries, and supporting Ontario workers. The plan also protects Ontario’s progress against the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Second Career funds tuition for training programs of 52 weeks duration or less, including eligible college and some university courses, micro-credential programs, and other vocational training programs.
- Since January 2021, 3,854 people have started training through the Second Career program to get the hand up they need into in-demand long-term jobs in their communities.
- Through Second Career, workers can receive up to $28,000 to pay for their education and living expenses as they pursue training to start a new career. Additional support may be available for applicants requiring disability-related supports, childcare, or accommodation near their training.
- The 2021-22 budget for the Second Career program is $82.4 million. Ontario is investing an additional $5 million in 2021–22 to expand the Second Career program.
- Second Career is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.
- The Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit provides up to $2,000 in relief for 50 per cent of a person’s eligible training expenses, such as tuition at an eligible Canadian institution and occupational exam fees. The credit is also refundable, which means people can benefit whether or not they owe any Ontario Personal Income Tax.