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Ontario government adds $160 million to skills training funding

Ontario is set to put $160 million toward skills training programs, prioritizing help for people on social assistance and people with criminal records. Labour Minister Monte McNaughton is set to announce the fourth round of funding through the Skills Development Fund today. McNaughton takes to the podium during a news conference in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young. chy

Ontario is putting $160 million toward skills training programs, prioritizing help for people on social assistance and people with criminal records.

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton announced the fourth round of funding through the Skills Development Fund on Friday.

He said it’s aimed at giving at least 100,000 people free training in health care, auto manufacturing, IT, hospitality and skilled trades.

The announcement brings the total for Skills Development Fund training to more than $860 million, with 596 projects in a variety of sectors supported so far.

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McNaughton said one million people in Ontario have a criminal record, with the majority for non-violent and petty crimes, and half of them are on social assistance even 15 years after being released.

He said around 40 per cent of people with a criminal record can’t get a second interview when job hunting, so he is calling on organizations to submit proposals to help them find meaningful work while also addressing labour shortages.

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“This is something that we’ve really been promoting and encouraging businesses to step up,” he said in an interview.

“I just think there’s a huge opportunity. These workers become very loyal to the employer that gives them a chance and there’s a huge opportunity to lift these people up.”

Funding applications are due by Nov. 17.

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