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Province pledges $299M for training centres, programming

Effort aims to increase skilled trades workers

The province is making available $299 million to build new training centres, upgrade existing ones, and introduce new programming in an effort to get more Ontarians trained in the skilled trades.

Announced on March 21, the funds will come from a new “capital” stream under the province’s Skills Development Fund, which was established in 2020. This will mark the fourth funding round for the Skills Development Fund.

Of the funding being provided, $224 million is being reserved to build and upgrade training centres, while the remaining $75 million, to be rolled out over three years, will go toward operations and programming.

The initiative will target skilled trades careers such as electricians, welders and mechanics.

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

“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.”

The news was lauded by several industry associations, including the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, and the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario.

The province said applications for the new Skills Development Fund capital stream are expected to open in late spring.

Eligible applicants include unions, Indigenous centres, businesses, and industry associations. Funds can be used toward facility renovations, retrofits, expansions, repairs, and building construction.