To help prepare 150 people for jobs in Hamilton’s construction sector, the Ontario budget is allocating $592,000, with funding being provided through the government’s $115-million Skills Development Fund.
The Canadian Society for Civil Engineering is among the first applications approved through the Fund. In partnership with McMaster University, they will develop a Sustainable Infrastructure Training Program. This new certificate program will provide training and resources to prepare up to 150 current and future technologists and engineers in the construction sector to design, construct, operate, and maintain infrastructure that is sustainable and resilient to climate changes.
To help get workers the training they need, the budget is proposing an Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit. The new temporary, refundable personal income tax credit will be available for 2021 and would provide up to $2,000 in relief for 50 per cent of eligible expenses and an estimated $260 million in support to about 230,000 people, or about $1,100 on average.
This support will further reduce obstacles to hiring, training and retaining workers and apprentices, and reduce the stigma related to a career in the skilled trades to attract a new generation of workers.
Last year, BuildForce Canada predicted the industry will see an influx of 222,600 workers under 30 over the next decade, but that will only fill a portion of the positions required, leaving a gap of more than 80,000 unfilled jobs in the construction sector. In 2016, nearly one in three journeypersons were aged 55 years or older.
“Our government launched the Skills Development Fund to generate innovative solutions to get Ontario back to work and ensure businesses have access to the qualified people they need to recover from the pandemic,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development. “Through our new program in Hamilton, participants will learn world-leading best practices while gaining the critical skills and knowledge they need to fill in-demand jobs and support economic growth in the province.”
The government says it is working to process all applications for the Skills Development Fund and discuss proposals with funding candidates. More than 500 applications were received in the first month of the program and a second application round is being planned in spring 2021. More details will follow in the coming weeks.