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MPP Khanjin Announces Ontario’s Investment in the Skilled Trades and Women in Business

This morning Andrea Khanjin, MPP for Barrie-Innisfil visited Discount Granite Plus for an announcement to share details from the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review and vocalize the importance of Ontario investing in skilled trades workers, as well as women in business. In attendance to encourage the support of both women in business and skilled trades workers were Executive Director Paul Markle of the Barrie Chamber of Commerce, Owner Stephanie Gourlie of Discount Granite Plus, Executive Officer Sandy Tuckey of the Simcoe County Home Builder’s Association, Managing Director Danielle Lazarevska of the Sandbox Centre and Owner Brian Little of Brian’s Little Electric Inc.


Skilled trade’s workers are vital for the health of Ontario’s economy. The trades provide good jobs that support families and communities. This is why the Ontario government continues to invest in the skilled trades. The Ontario government is providing financial support to workers by expanding the Second Career Program and are extending the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit to 2022.


The Second Career program provides financial support to laid-off and unemployed workers. By spring 2022, the Second Career program will begin supporting unemployed individuals with little or no work experience, those who are self-employed and those in the gig economy. The program will also offer much better access for those whose employment barriers may have been made worse by the pandemic, including young people, newcomers, people on social assistance, and people with disabilities. The program offers eligible applicants up to $28,000 for costs including tuition, books, manuals, workbook, transportation, basic living allowance. For more information, please go to: https://www.ontario.ca/page/second-career.


The government is also extending the temporary, refundable Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit to 2022, which was originally introduced in the 2021 Ontario Budget to help workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic get back into the workforce. The extension would provide an estimated $275 million in additional support to about 240,000 people, or $1,150 on average, to help Ontario workers continue to upgrade their skills.


“Investing in the skilled trades is the way of the future and the road to recovery,” said MPP Andrea Khanjin. “Like many industries, the skilled trades are facing a labour shortage that must be filled. Not only are the skilled trades a great career to provide for your family, in order to continue to grow and recover, we need to build: more homes, more hospital capacity, more schools and daycare, improved roads and internet access, a stronger supply chain, and much more. A large and growing pool of skilled trades workers will be vital to these goals.”


“The Fall Economic Statement, delivered in November, charts a forward direction for economic recovery and growth in communities big and small and of course, right here in Barrie,” noted Simcoe County HBA Executive Officer, Sandy Tuckey. “The home building and professional renovation sectors are prepared to continue building up Barrie and Simcoe County to be the very best places to live, work and play.”


“The Barrie Construction Association is a mixed-trade association that supports close to 400 of the industrial, commercial, institutional builders in and around the Simcoe County region. Many of our members are small to medium enterprises that depend heavily on securing local skilled trades,” said Alison Smith, Executive Director with Barrie Construction Association. “The BCA is committed to raise the profile and awareness of skilled trades as a viable career option and we fully support the government’s introduction of the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit for 2021 to help workers get the training they need.”


"Ontario began to see some positive momentum in 2021 thanks to progress on vaccines and reopening. Business confidence, GDP, and employment growth were trending upwards after record lows in 2020,” said Paul Markle, Executive Director at the Barrie Chamber of Commerce. “However, the road ahead remains uncertain for businesses and households as labour shortages, supply chain disruptions, and inflation are hitting home. A staggering 62 percent of sectors face labour shortages in Ontario and expect to continue facing them over the next year. This is having real-life consequences on the cost of living, service delivery, and product availability.”


Ontario is investing an additional $90 million over three years to further promote the skilled trades to young people. This investment responds to the Apprenticeship Youth Advisors report, which includes several recommendations to help solve the shortage of skilled workers Ontario is currently facing. The funding will help attract more students to rewarding and lucrative careers in the trades and ensure employers have the workers they need to grow their businesses and drive our economy.


The Ontario government is providing an additional $500,000 in the Investing in Women’s Futures Program, bringing the total funding to $2.7 million this year. Offered at 23 women’s centres across the province, the program provides free employment readiness and violence prevention programming to socially and economically.


Over the past two years, the 23 women’s centres offering the Investing in Women’s Futures Program have helped more than 1,900 women find jobs or start their own businesses and pursue further training or education. Overall, 19,000 women have accessed the Investing in Women’s Futures Program over the past three years.


The additional funding will help improve the delivery of online services to increase access for women who are not able to attend in-person due to dependent care responsibilities, mobility and/or living in a rural or remote community and provide greater access to counselling and other wrap-around supports to bolster their physical and mental health and safety.


“Increasing women’s participation in the workforce is a critical part of Ontario’s plan to Work for Workers and build the foundation for economic recovery,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “Informed by the meaningful work of Ontario’s Task Force on Women and the Economy, this investment was one of several announced in our 2021 Fall Economic Statement to address the unique and disproportionate economic challenges women are facing.”


“The past two years have turned lives upside down, but if I’m going to be frank - for women, they’re running out of road,” says Danielle Lazarevska, Managing Director of the Sandbox Centre. "Despite the extensive value and contributions women bring to our entrepreneurial ecosystem, women entrepreneurs face multiple barriers to success. Indigenous, black, and racialized women, women with disabilities, newcomers, and women in rural areas are faced with further challenges. Sandbox Centre recognizes that women in business are the backbone of our growing economy and increased support like the RAISE grant from the Ontario government will allow us to better assist in removing barriers and connecting them to the resources they need to succeed.”


"As a woman, it's exciting to know these opportunities are available to people of all backgrounds, genders and ages. What more, as a female entrepreneur in a predominantly skilled labour field, I know first hand the invaluable experience that comes with skilled trade professionals,” said Stephanie Gourlie, Partner and Owner at Discount Granite Plus. “I am always looking for top talent in my business and funding for programs in trades adds value and brings workers to an industry that is always searching for skilled labourers. When we support programs like these, you are developing trade based skills that not only benefit the tradesperson themselves but keeps our local community thriving economically and our regional competitiveness relevant. The jobs are here and they are not going anywhere and now we will have the talent to fill them."

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