Ontario is making changes to the Northern Ontario Internship Program in an effort to create more job opportunities for Indigenous and skilled workers, and address the skilled labour shortage across the North.
Greg Rickford, minister of energy, Northern development and mines, and Indigenous affairs, announced the launch of a new internship program on March 5.
“Changes to the internship program ensure our government is well-positioned to assist Northern employers in providing work experience to a broader range of interns,” Rickford said in a news release.
“We are removing barriers to participation in the Northern Ontario Internship Program so that more organizations can provide on-the-job career development and address skilled labour shortages.”
Through the previous program, organizations in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors could access provincial funding to help with the cost of providing training and work experience to recent graduates.
Under the new program guidelines, applicants are no longer required to be recent university or college graduates, and funding can apply to a wider variety of internships, including skilled trades.
Program candidates will now include new entrants into the workforce, those transitioning to a new career, the unemployed and underemployed.
The program is open to organizations across sectors, including advance manufacturing, mining supply and services, aviation and aerospace, First Nations, post-secondary educational institutions, research facilities, and more.
The new Northern Ontario Internship Program will have two funding streams:
- The Northern Ontario Indigenous Internships Stream highlights the importance of the North's Indigenous population to the region's economy and workforce while providing employers with greater incentive to offer Indigenous internship opportunities.
- The Northern Ontario Skilled Labour Internships Stream places an enhanced focus on addressing skills shortages in areas such as the skilled trades and provides apprentices with the ability to attend required training throughout their placement.
"We are strengthening Northern Ontario's competitive advantage and building economic development capacity by attracting, training and retaining a highly skilled workforce," said Rickford. "Above all, we are taking action to make Northern Ontario open for business.”
The Northern Ontario Internship Program is administered through the province’s Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation.