Ontario is expanding access to the Second Career Program to serve more people on social assistance, those who are self-employed, gig workers, youth, newcomers, and others.
The additional supports come as the provide in experiencing a labour shortage post-pandemic.
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.
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. 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.
Since the revamping of the 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.
Nearly 4,000 residents have participated in the Second Careers program.