Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Ontario modifies eligibility to retraining program for laid-off manufacturing workers


March 10, 2020
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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The Ontario government has announced improvements to its Second Career program, which assists manufacturing workers looking to train for a new career after layoffs.

The changes include waiving certain eligibility requirements to give workers faster access to reimbursement for 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,” says Monte McNaughton, the province’s minister of labour, training and skills development, in a statement.

Effective April 1, 2020, manufacturing workers laid off on or after January 1, 2019 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.

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All other laid-off workers will be able to apply for Second Career under the previously established eligibility rules.

According to the province, on average there were over 10,000 manufacturing workers per month using employment insurance across Ontario from January to November 2019.

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 free program helps laid-off workers pay for post-secondary education or training that they need to successfully rejoin the workforce.

Since its launch, Second Career has helped approximately 110,900 people retrain for a new occupation, as of March 31, 2019. Common occupations include transport truck driver, heavy equipment operator and social and community service.

“Employers are looking for workers, and workers are looking for jobs. With more responsive training programs, we can help both,” says McNaughton.