Ontario Helping Employers Train and Hire More Apprentices

New program will provide job seekers with training supports and reduce administration costs for businesses

December 4, 2020

LONDON – The Ontario government is investing $20 million to help small businesses jointly sponsor and train apprentices through the new Group Sponsorship Grant program, increasing the number of people training and working in the skilled trades. The program will reduce pressure on any one employer to see an apprentice through to completion of training and provide apprentices with the support needed to become a registered journeyperson.

Part of the government’s Skilled Trades Strategy laid out in the 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover, this investment will help ensure the province has a supply of skilled workers to meet current and future labour market needs.

“We’re leaving no stone unturned in our mission to help those who are interested find good jobs in the skilled trades. Our government’s Group Sponsorship Grant will bring more employers and apprentices together and will contribute to our province’s economic recovery,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “This program is a great example of how we are encouraging more employer participation in apprenticeship, helping businesses find the talent they need while engaging and preparing people for meaningful careers in the skilled trades.” 

Group sponsors consist of two or more people who act as a single sponsor to collectively provide training to apprentices to grow their skills and help them gain work experience to improve their career success. Group sponsors share apprenticeship management and training responsibilities, including:

  • interviewing and selecting prospective apprentices and establishing a training network
  • coordinating and monitoring the apprentice’s on-the-job workplace training
  • submitting documentation for apprenticeship application, registration of training agreements and completion of the apprenticeship training programs
  • supporting apprentices through the complete apprenticeship cycle, including registration, workplace and classroom-based training, completion and trade certification
  • overseeing affiliated employers and organizations who provide apprenticeship training and ensure they are delivering apprenticeship training in accordance with the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, its regulations and training standards.

The application is available to existing and new group sponsors. Successful applicants may receive funding for up to three years.

“This program is a great example of how we are encouraging more employer participation in apprenticeship,” said Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. “We want more women to discover meaningful careers in the skilled trades and the initiative we are announcing today will help businesses do just that while finding the talent they need.” Ontario is also investing $274.9 million over the next two years to help apprentices pay for living expenses during their in-class training and ensure they receive a high-quality education in a safe environment. Employers and organizations can apply for the Group Sponsorship Grant at Ontario.ca/hireanapprentice.

Quick Facts

  • Businesses interested in the Group Sponsorship Grant program may be eligible to receive grants of up to $1 million for the 2020-2021 year.
  • A sponsor, as defined in the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009, is a person who has been approved by the ministry to enter into a registered training agreement and ensures that the apprentice is provided with the training required.
  • Before the COVID-19 outbreak, it was projected that about 22,000 additional skilled trades workers will be needed over the next eight years in the construction sector.
  • There are currently 119 group sponsors in Ontario with active apprentices.
  • In 2016, nearly one in three journeypersons were aged 55 years or older, with many retirements expected in the near future.