Ontario to invest nearly $300 million in skilled trades training

Ontario Premier Doug Ford stands at a podium
Ontario Premier Doug Ford (file photo)

The Ontario government is investing $224 million to build and upgrade training centres for the skilled trades.

The province also plans to invest $75 million over the next three years to support the operations and programing at new and existing centres to train workers for in-demand careers, like electricians, welders and mechanics. In Ontario, one in five job openings are projected to be in the skilled trades by 2026.

“As we build Ontario, we’re providing more women and men with opportunities to begin or advance their careers in the skilled trades,” said Ontario 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.”

Expanding the Skills Development Fund

Applications to access the new Skills Development Fund (SDF) capital stream are expected to open in late spring. The SFD 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.

Eligible upgrades include 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.”

In Ontario, about 300,000 jobs are unfilled across the province, costing billions in lost productivity. The Skills Development Fund capital stream aims to create opportunities for unions and training providers to help close the labour gap.

The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 793 and the Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario (OETIO) applauded the new funding stream to advance training.

“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,” said Mike Gallagher, Business Manager for the IOUE Local 793.

“Financially supporting training institutes will help attract more people to the skilled trades, better prepare them for good paying jobs, and address industry needs.” Since 2020, Ontario has invested nearly $700 million in the Skills Development Fund to support innovative training projects.