February 5, 2021, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Monte McNaughton announced the opening of applications for Ontario’s $115 million Skills Development Fund. This fund is intended to address the challenges for Ontario’s workforce brought on by COVID-19, by reducing obstacles to hiring, training, and retaining.

Following this morning’s announcement, Minister McNaughton responded to questions from media.

Additional Announcements

This afternoon, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Vic Fedeli issued a statement in response to today’s monthly employment release by Statistics Canada, which indicated that employment in Ontario decreased by 153,500 in January.

Yesterday, Ontario announced an investment of $2 million from the Ontario Together Fund, which will be provided to CEM Specialties Inc. to help commercialize and accelerate production of its airborne COVID-19 detector, Kontrol BioCloud (BioCloud). This technology enables real-time monitoring of the air in high-risk settings where people gather such as schools, offices, long-term care homes, hospitals, public transit, and manufacturing facilities. As a result of this project, up to 250 direct and 750 indirect jobs are expected to be created.

Further Details

Applications Open for Skills Development Fund

This morning, Minister McNaughton announced the opening of applications for Ontario’s new two-year, $115 million Skills Development Fund, which is intended to help the province recover economically from COVID-19 by tackling challenges faced by workers and job-seekers during the pandemic.

Through this fund, the government is searching for innovative solutions to get Ontario workers back on the job and spur economic recovery.

The focus areas of the Skills Development Fund are:

  • Giving laid-off workers immediate access to training supports or new jobs;
  • Improving the quality of training;
  • Reaching out to traditionally underrepresented groups;
  • Increasing apprentice registrations and completion;
  • Better serving local communities;
  • Supporting the talent needs of small businesses.

The fund will accept applications from a wide range of employment and training organizations in Ontario, including employers, apprenticeship training delivery agents, unions, post-secondary institutions, and community organizations. Proposals can be submitted until February 28, 2021.


Reopening Plans

In response to a question about rumours of businesses planning to reopen in defiance of the provincial lockdown, Minister McNaughton stated that he trusts Ontario’s businesses to continue working to mitigate the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that Ontarians are beginning to see “light at the end of the tunnel” with recent improvement in COVID-19 trends, and suggested that Premier Ford would have further updates next week on plans for reopening the economy.