SUDBURY — The Ontario government is investing $1.9 million to help more than 2,000 students, underemployed adults, Indigenous community members and other Northern Ontario workers learn the skills they need to find new, better jobs. Working with local partners, the government’s investment in local skills development will help address unemployment in Northern Ontario as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement was made today by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development at Science North, which will receive $428,870 to provide tech-sector training for up to 905 students, teachers-in-training and underemployed adults.

“This funding will benefit Northern people from all walks of life and help them find the kind of job they need to support themselves, their families and their communities,” said Minister McNaughton. “Soft skills like financial literacy, digital skills and coding, and the skilled trades are all pathways to new, exciting opportunities, new careers, and a bright future for residents of Northern Ontario.”

The investment includes:

  • $500,000 for the Shwe Miikaan and Confederation College Construction Trades Training Project to prepare up to 32 Indigenous community members for careers in local construction infrastructure, specifically to work on the twinning of highway 69/400 between Parry Sound and Sudbury.
  • $487,000 for Northern College of Applied Arts and Technology to train up to 75 public administration employees in northern municipalities around Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie.
  • $250,000 for the Wikwemikong Development Commission to prepare up to 17 Indigenous community members on Manitoulin Island for employment as personal support workers through training based on Indigenous culture and practices.
  • $217,200 for Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute to train up to 15 Indigenous community members on Manitoulin Island as personal support workers, including modules designed to understand Indigenous Peoples’ history, ways of being, and cultural sensitivity.
  • $96,220 for Near North District School Board to train up to 1,000 students in financial literacy and job-specific computer skills.”

“I am proud to see our government’s continued investment in Indigenous skills and training programs across the province,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines; Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “By investing in Indigenous-owned and controlled post-secondary institutions, our government is helping to build a robust network of training and skill opportunities that addresses the skills gap in Northern Ontario and prepares young people for meaningful and successful careers.”

The announcement is part of a $37 million investment by the Ontario government to help 15,000 people upgrade their skills and train for new jobs.

“Employers are looking for job-ready people to help fill vacancies across Ontario, and our government is committed to providing everyone with the opportunity and the skills to fill those positions,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “With this funding, we’re not only building skills and capacity, we are investing in the people and the potential of Northern Ontario.”

The investment comes from the Skills Catalyst Fund, which supports innovative projects that test emerging ideas on how to tackle labour market challenges.

“We are very pleased to receive this investment from the Ontario government,” said Science North CEO Guy Labine. “Science North, in partnership with employment centres, industry leaders, universities, and school boards, will offer programs that will build 21st-century coding and digital skills in students, preservice teachers and underemployed adults throughout Northern Ontario.”