Feds and Ontario commit over $1 billion to support employee training
By Ryan Weaver
The lead up to the Canada Job Grant launch was definitely more interesting than what you typically see with most government funding programs, but then again the Canada Job Grant is not just any incentive program. The funding for training programs developed by the federal government is slated to support businesses across the nation with up to $300 million per year until 2020. While the process of finalizing individual deals among the federal body and all of its provinces and territories may have taken significant planning, the Canada Job Grant is now available to businesses across the nation.
The Fed and province of Ontario commit over $1 billion to support employee training
Funding offered through the provinces/territories and the federal government is estimated at $300 million per year over a six-year period, making it one of the most lucrative funding for training programs available to employers. The program will cover up to two-thirds of training costs (to a maximum of $10,000 grant support per trainee), with the business being responsible for kicking in just 33 per cent of the total training costs. Smaller businesses, with less than 50 full time employees, will be eligible for larger contributions as the trainees’ wage may be counted as part of the company’s 33 per cent contribution.
Why the need for funding for training in Canada?
Is Canada really suffering a serious skills shortage? The extent of the problem may be open to discussion, with some calling the much purported misalignment an overstatement of mythical proportions – possibly due to double and triple counting of employment ads posted on Kijiji in Canada’s statistics. But what is not open to debate is the desperate need for government, academic institutions, and employers to work together to build and maintain a world-class workforce capable of competing in the knowledge economy.
Canada’s employers have been investing less in workplace learning
According to the Canadian Council on Learning’s recent report on Employer Investment in Workplace Learning in Canada, Canada is “underperforming” when it comes to workplace training, having slipped from 12th to 20th in terms of the priority employers put on workforce training and development. The report draws attention to the fact that only 29 per cent of adult workers in Canada participate in job-related education and training, this compares with 34 per cent in the U.K. and 44 per cent in the U.S.
In fact, in terms of training costs as a percentage of payroll U.S. firms spend about 50 per cent more on training programs than Canadian firms. The report goes on to explain employers’ reluctance to invest in training is in part due to the fact that they are not convinced of the return on investment when compared with other forms of investment, including physical capital and equipment. Now, with the Canada Job Grant, any doubt as to whether training is a worthwhile investment should be erased.
Training eligible for funding through the Canada Job Grant
The Canada Job Grant was created to support businesses’ investment in the development of their workforce. The government of Ontario will support employee training initiatives for businesses that wish to upgrade their existing employees’ skillset or train new hires, including employers in the agriculture and food processing sectors. Such firms can apply to the Canada Job Grant to cover training costs from a vast number of programs. Here are just a couple that would be of interest to food processors looking to expand into international markets:
• Programs and courses for industry in technology, supervision, sanitation and food safety like those offered through the Institute of Food Processing Technology at Conestoga College.
• International trade training courses including those which count toward an internationally recognized designations (like “CITP”) offered through Forum of International Trade Training (FITT).
Expenses covered through the Canada Job Grant
Examples of training costs covered through this program include:
• Third-party trainer costs;
• Course registration fees;
• Examination expenses;
• Course materials;
• Training related software; and
• Professional development training.
Visit Mentor Works to sign up for a free informational webinar on the Canada Job Grant.
Ryan Weaver has a BA in economics, an MSc in management, and several published works including two books. As marketing analyst at Mentor Works, Ryan enjoys communicating with business owners and executives about government grants and funding available to help overcome obstacles to growth. Contact him at [email protected]