Helping Ontarians develop the skills they need to find good jobs

News release

December 10, 2020              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

As the Canadian economy recovers from the impact of COVID-19, workers are facing new challenges. Ontario residents and all Canadians need access to training and employment supports to develop new skills and find good jobs.

Today, Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, and Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, highlighted that the Government of Canada is investing an additional $1.5 billion in the Workforce Development Agreements (WDAs) with provinces and territories. The Government of Ontario has received $614 million to help respond to the increased number of Ontarians looking to re-enter the workforce, particularly those in hard-hit sectors and groups disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic. Supports include skills training, on-the-job training, employer-sponsored training, financial assistance and benefits, employment counselling and services, and job opportunities. This funding is in addition to the $3.4 billion already being provided to provinces and territories under the Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs) and WDAs in 2020–21.

The Government of Ontario outlined its economic recovery plan in the
2020 Ontario Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover, which includes $4.8 billion in new supports for recovery efforts that will be built on over time. As part of the action plan, Ontario is building the foundation for strong economic recovery—and growth—by modernizing Ontario’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system and supporting workers to acquire in‑demand skills through an additional $100 million of dedicated investments in Employment Ontario and a redesigned Second Career program. By building on the province’s strong Employment Ontario delivery network, these additional federal investments will ensure quick access to training for those who need it the most and will help job seekers who are affected by the pandemic retrain and upgrade their skills.

In its 2020 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada committed to making the largest training investment in Canadian history and announced that it will launch a campaign to create over one million jobs, restoring employment to pre-pandemic levels. This will be done by using a range of tools, including immediate training to quickly skill up workers. As a first step, this one-time investment through the WDAs will help contribute to this goal and create a stronger workforce. 

To further support recovery efforts, the Government of Canada is also ensuring that provinces and territories have flexibility under the LMDAs and the WDAs by broadening the scope of eligible costs to include things such as the costs related to online training, accommodating new physical distancing requirements and providing mental health supports.

As we work toward our economic recovery from the pandemic, the Government of Canada will continue to support the people of Ontario and help them grow their potential. By working together with the Government of Ontario, we can build a stronger workforce and position the country for an economic recovery that leaves no Canadian behind.


“Working with the Government of Ontario, the Government of Canada is getting Ontario’s workers the training they need to get good jobs as our country cautiously recovers from the impacts of COVID-19. Now more than ever, we need to strengthen workers’ futures and help them succeed as our economy recovers and evolves.”

– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

“Our government is working in lockstep with our federal counterparts to help job seekers and their families in this difficult time. We are investing in more employment services that give people the skills they need to thrive in quality jobs that are crucial to the strength of their communities. Together, we are leading an economic recovery where every person has a job they are proud of.”

– Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development 

Quick facts

  • Each year, the Government of Canada provides provinces and territories with approximately $3 billion in funding through the LMDAs and the WDAs to help Canadians improve their skills, and find and keep employment. Budget 2017 provided an additional investment in these agreements of up to $625 million annually, between 2017 and 2023. 

  • Following today’s announcement, total spending on programs for persons with disabilities through the WDAs will increase by about $425 million. 

  • Based on the latest job numbers from the Labour Force Survey, Canada’s labour market gained another 62,000 jobs in November 2020. The national unemployment rate was 8.5% in November, down slightly from 8.9% in October and 13.7% in May.  

  • Ontar io’s employment rate increased for the fifth consecutive month since the COVID-19 economic downturn, rising by 30,600 (0.4%) in October. With this latest increase, the provincial employment rate in October was 3.8% (287,900) lower than in February (before COVID-19), reflecting a net job gain of 868,600 over five months.

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:
Marielle Hossack
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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Harry Godfrey
Office of the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Monte McNaughton

Kalem McSween
Communications Branch, Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development

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