PEMBROKE —The Ontario government, in partnership with the Wood Manufacturing Council (WMC), is helping people in Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) prepare for good jobs in the wood manufacturing sector. With an investment of $885,000, the WMC is leading an innovative skills training project with local employers to help 72 workers and job seekers gain the skills and work experience needed by wood manufacturing partners in these regions.

Yakabuski John 2016 Super Portrait

Details were provided by John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry and MPP for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke on behalf of Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and joined by Mike Harris, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry and MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga.

“This partnership with our government provides opportunities for people and businesses in Ontario,” said Minister Yakabuski. “Ontario’s forestry sector continues to thrive with support from Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy, and employers need to hire and train skilled employees to keep up with demand for their products.”

The program, funded through SkillsAdvance Ontario, will train six trainee cohorts, with two cohorts each taking place in Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, and the GTA. The training will take place in person and include an introduction to hand tools, power tools, and woodworking machinery as well as safety rules and safety training. WMC will also develop a curriculum for the mass timber industry, using the existing Wood Employee Readiness Curriculum (WERC). The first training is expected to start in Ottawa on June 14, 2021.

“Training programs are essential to our mission of helping people find good jobs,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “With the right training, people can get a hand up into gainful life-long careers. Supporting innovative training projects in communities across the province is part of our plan to help people develop the in-demand skills they need to support their families and make their communities stronger.”

“This project is good news for people and businesses of our region who will benefit from two of the program intakes,” said Mike Harris, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “The customized curriculum will provide opportunities for 24 individuals to pursue in-demand careers in mass timber and wood manufacturing.”
“The Wood Manufacturing Council is grateful for the support of the Government of Ontario for this initiative. The opportunity to expose more people to the wood manufacturing sector, to provide them with a wide variety of skills, and to connect them to employers who need good quality entry-level workers, is exciting and will be very beneficial. It continues WMC’s efforts to attract new people with the right skills to the many Ontario companies producing advanced wood products,” said Pete Fournier, Chair, Wood Manufacturing Council.

Ontario’s 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, includes measures to help workers and families recover from COVID-19 by investing an additional $614.3 million during 2020–21 and 2021–22 for employment and training supports, and proposing the new Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit, a one-time credit that would provide up to $2,000 for workers who enroll in an eligible course or training program in 2021.