TORONTO — The Ontario government has announced it will spend $47 million in 2021-22 on a new program and expansion of an existing program intended to hire more apprentices, improve the quality of training and assist in the completion of training and certification.
The new initiative, unveiled by Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton on March 5, is called the Achievement Incentive Program. The newly expanded assistance will come through a boost to the existing Apprenticeship Capital Grant.
The programs are designed to support those who train apprentices, such as businesses, colleges and other training organizations, providing more young people with training leading to careers, stated a release.
“This is critical investment as our apprentices will be the ones who will help provide essential services and build our future hospitals, highways and homes,” said McNaughton. “Through these programs our government is supporting this important training pipeline, creating the next generation of our skilled workers and providing more young people with an opportunity to get good jobs in their communities.”
The Achievement Incentive Program is targeted to help 11,000 employers in the construction, industrial, service and other sectors with up to $4,000 in funding per apprentice as they reach key training milestones.
Ontario will allot $21 million to the Achievement Incentive in 2020-21 and the spending will increase to $23.1 million in 2021-22.
Additionally, the government is spending $24 million, a $10-million increase from last year, through the Apprenticeship Capital Grant to help colleges, unions and apprentice training providers upgrade their equipment and facilities to ensure apprentices have access to more modern training materials during their in-class training. Examples include virtual reality training equipment and simulators, new tools and upgraded accessibility supports.
The Achievement Incentive is now available to eligible apprenticeship sponsors. The sponsors will receive an email from the ministry with a web link to apply for support.
“This is a good step that will encourage more employers to hire and train apprentices. Employers provide critical on-the-job training for apprentices entering the trades. This investment will encourage more small and medium-sized companies to be involved in the apprenticeship system so Ontario becomes a leader in the skilled trades,” stated Stephen Hamilton, chair of the Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance, in the release.
Merit Ontario, the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada and the Electrical Contractors’ Association of Ontario also issued statements of support.