Ontario Investing an Additional $90 Million into Skills Development Fund

MC Government of Ontario Logo 400x275

September 26, 2022


Province seeking new proposals to upskill workers, support at-risk communities, and tackle the labour shortage

The Ontario government is working for workers by investing an additional $90 million in the Skills Development Fund (SDF) to support innovative training projects that upskill workers and jobseekers, preparing them for meaningful careers in their communities. As part of a plan to build a stronger province, this third funding round, which opens September 29th, is open to anyone who is unemployed or underemployed, and will prioritize programs helping people with prior involvement in the criminal justice system, at-risk youth, people with disabilities, Indigenous people, Ukrainian newcomers, and others facing barriers to employment.

“Ontario is a place where hard work pays off and big dreams come true,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “As we continue to combat the largest labour shortage in a generation, there are tens of thousands of people who need a hand up, including those previously involved in the justice system who have paid their dues and just want to give back. I believe in second chances and that is why I am calling on Ontario’s employers to help us deliver programs that lift people up and give them the tools they need to earn bigger paycheques and lead purpose-driven lives.”

Over 370,000 jobs are going unfilled across the province, costing billions in lost productivity. To address this, the Skills Development Fund supports ground-breaking programs that connect jobseekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying careers close to home. The previous two rounds of funding delivered 388 training projects, helping more than 393,000 people take the next step in their careers in in-demand industries.

Through the previous round of the Skills Development Fund, the government approved an investment of nearly $500,000 for the John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington and Area. Through an entirely new program, John Howard was able to connect over 40 previously incarcerated or justice-involved individuals with well-paying jobs in Hamilton’s booming manufacturing sector, solving the needs of local businesses as well.

“Thanks to support from the Skills Development Fund and the John Howard Society, I’ve found my dream job and am learning so much about the workplace and myself,” said Colleen Scanlan, John Howard Society’s WorkPath Employment Services program participant. “I’m now earning a great paycheque doing everything from ground maintenance to other little jobs. Through this program, I have found a fantastic employer, where my voice is heard.”

During the upcoming third funding round, the province will also prioritize applications for projects preparing workers for careers in in-demand sectors such as the skilled trades, healthcare, technology and manufacturing.

Today’s announcement brings Ontario’s total investment in the Skills Development Fund to over $560 million.


Quick facts:

  • •Funding applications will be accepted starting September 29, 2022, and will close January 31, 2023. Interested organizations can apply through Transfer Payment Ontario.
  • •Organizations eligible for funding include employment service and training providers, labour, community, business and industry organizations, municipalities, hospitals, Indigenous Band offices, Indigenous skills and employment training agreement holders, and service system managers. For a full list of SDF Round 3 eligible primary applicants, please refer to section 3.1 in the SDF Round 3 Application Guide.
  • •To support longer-term funding and cut red tape for applicants, multi-year proposals will now be accepted.
  • •Applicants applying for multi-year funding must have demonstrated experience and success delivering Employment Ontario (EO) programs.
  • •The province is also looking into launching a dedicated stream for larger capital projects later this year.
  • •Individuals who want to participate in the John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington and Area project can contact Donna DeJong, Acting Executive Director, at ddejong@jhshamilton.on.ca.
  • •Ontario’s Skills Development Fund is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.



“As an organization, our goal is to help people achieve positive change. Our team works diligently to support justice-involved individuals to secure meaningful and gainful employment. With support from the government, we continue to work with amazing local employers and community partners who are willing to give our participants the second chance they need to realize their dreams.”

– Donna de Jong 
Executive Director, John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington & Area

“Minister McNaughton continues to demonstrate his leadership and vision by today’s further investment to support the skilled trades and other critical industries. This announcement reflects his understanding and appreciation of the important contributions of the skilled trades to the prosperity of Ontario.”

– James Barry 
Executive Secretary Treasurer IBEW Construction Council of Ontario

“Minister McNaughton’s unwavering support for Ontario’s Building Trades workers is highly commendable. Today, Minister McNaughton is once again following up his strong words with strong action.”

– James Hogarth 
President, The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario

“We are thrilled that the Province of Ontario and Minister Monte McNaughton have taken the much needed commitment to prioritize funding opportunities for youth in conflict with the law – with a bold $90 million Skills Development Fund Round 3. It is to the disadvantage of all Canadians when we limit the opportunities for hiring, training or retaining workers with a criminal history, backgrounds and records. With a significant labour shortage and an urgent need for highly skilled workers, we must find ways to create pathways to economic mobility for youth in conflict with the law. We highly encourage innovative and market-driven partnerships between community organizations and the private sector. We hope that Ontario’s philanthropy community can amplify the potential impact of the Skills Development Fund by matching contributions to successful applicants.”

– Yonis Hassan 
Chief Executive Officer, Justice Fund

“On behalf of all the workers at Heddle Shipyards across the great province of Ontario, I would like to thank Minister McNaughton, Premier Ford, and the entire Ontario Government for their support, which has facilitated job creation and the training and upskilling of over 300 workers to date. Together, we are accelerating the modernization of Ontario shipyards, which has given us a competitive advantage over other jurisdictions. This government is truly working for the province’s workers and is responsible for bringing shipbuilding back to Ontario.”

– Shaun Padulo 
President & CEO of Heddle Shipyards

“The Skills Development Fund has proven transformational for Good Roads’ municipal and First Nation members. With this funding, Good Roads was able to quickly design and deliver training that responded to market conditions while also providing public works professionals with the skills needed to keep our roads in good repair and get Ontario moving on the road to post-COVID recovery.”

– Scott Butler 
Executive Director, Good Roads 

“Mitacs welcomes today’s announcement of the next round of funding under the Ontario government’s innovative Skills Development Fund. Ongoing investment in skills is a critical component of ensuring that Ontario has the talent it needs to drive innovation and economic growth. As a proud partner of his Ministry’s efforts in this area, we thank Minister McNaughton for his ongoing leadership in making skills development a priority.”

– Dr. John Hepburn 
CEO, Mitacs

“This investment provides the kind of support our member companies need to help close the skills gap. It will allow employers to hire more skilled tradespeople from apprentices to supervisors to help build Ontario’s infrastructure. It will also allow more apprentices and workers to get the kind of modern, flexible training that’s required for the 21st century.”

– Stephen Hamilton 
Director, Public Affairs, Ontario at the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA)

“Today’s announcement is great news for the equine industry; great news for rural Ontario and especially great news for the folks who now have a legitimate pathway to any number of careers in a multi-billion dollar homegrown sector. On behalf all the hard working individuals and families who have dedicated their lives to an industry they truly love, it is my honour to thank Minister Monte McNaughton, his incredible staff and of course, Premier Doug Ford. The Premier and the Minister have remained true to their promise to support workers and Ontario’s rural economy. Their unwavering commitment has meant everything to our equine agricultural industry. Together with our incredible partners, OHHA will continue to get it done for workers, employers, rural communities and the horses in our care.”

– James Whelan 
Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) president 

“Made possible because of the Skills Development Fund, the Town of Lincoln‘s Youth Skills Studio is a program geared toward supporting youth employment and skills development and has been exceptionally successful. Through strategic investments and a hyper-focus on training youth and small business support, the Ministry has been innovative and forward thinking, making measurable impacts across Ontario. “

– Mayor Sandra Easton 
Town of Lincoln


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