Ontario Increasing Support and Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing Workers

Published on March 10, 2020

Province Improves Access to Second Career Program

The Ontario government is delivering on its promise to help people prepare for jobs by improving supports for manufacturing workers looking to train for a new career.

The changes include waiving certain eligibility requirements to give workers easier and faster access to training supports. The support program, known as Second Career, helps workers with retraining costs such as tuition, books and transportation.

"Ontario has some of the most talented and hard-working manufacturing specialists in the world, and it's important that government stands by them to help make sure they have the skills they need to find good jobs," said Minister McNaughton. "That's why it's important to use every tool we have. Today I'm happy to say we're making changes to allow workers to access help more quickly."

Effective April 1, 2020, laid-off manufacturing workers will no longer be required to search for a job for 26 weeks to qualify for Second Career. They can also now apply regardless of how long they had been working in the manufacturing or auto industry. Since its launch, Second Career has helped approximately 110,900 people retrain for a new occupation, as of March 31, 2019.

 "We're ensuring our manufacturing workers are given every opportunity to be successful in their career,"' said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "Our government remains committed to providing supports that position the sector for the future of advanced manufacturing."

The Second Career program was launched in 2008 as a response to major layoffs in the wake of the 2007/2008 world financial crisis. The program helps laid-off workers pay for postsecondary education or training that they need to successfully rejoin the workforce.

In the third quarter of 2019, there were about 18,700 vacant jobs in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie Economic Region, with demand for mechanics, cooks, carpenters, heavy equipment operators and millwrights.

"Employers are looking for workers, and workers are looking for jobs. With more responsive training programs, we can help both," said Minister McNaughton. "Over this spring and summer we will work closely with business and training stakeholders to review all our employment and training programs to learn how to improve them."

Quick Facts

  • On average there were over 10,000 manufacturing workers per month in receipt of Employment Insurance across Ontario from January to November 2019.
  • The changes to Second Career will apply to manufacturing and auto workers who were permanently laid off on or after January 1, 2019. All other laid-off workers will be able to apply for Second Career under the previously established eligibility rules.
  • Popular occupations that Second Career clients train for include Transport Truck Driver, Heavy Equipment Operator (Except Crane) and Social and Community Service Worker.
  • Applying for the Second Career program is free, and Employment Ontario service providers help with the application process free of charge.
  • The Employment Ontario network offers a range of services and supports that help businesses find talent and connect job-seekers to training and job opportunities.

Additional Resources