Ontario Helping Immigrants Prepare for Good Jobs

Published on June 29, 2021

Free skills training for newcomers will help advance province’s economic recovery


News Release

HAMILTON — The Ontario government is investing $7.7 million in language and skills training supports to help 2,700 newcomers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic start new jobs. Through 19 programs across Ontario, newcomers will gain the skills they need to work in food manufacturing, healthcare, web development, and other in-demand sectors while supporting Ontario’s economic recovery and future prosperity.

Details were provided today by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development and Donna Skelly, MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook.

“The skills that newcomers bring to Ontario play a crucial role in driving our economy forward,” said Minister McNaughton. “Our job is to connect the dots and ensure newcomers have the support they need to pursue the in-demand and fulfilling careers available in their new home and provide for their families.These training investments will go a long way to strengthening our economy and local communities.”

As part of today’s commitment to supporting newcomers, YMCA Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford will receive $250,000 to provide free job-focused language training to 80 newcomers interested in, or currently employed in the food manufacturing sector. Starting in fall 2021, the project will include a mix of in-person and online training where participants will learn sector-specific language skills, workplace health and safety and gain an awareness of Canadian workplace culture to start careers and succeed in the industry. The program is being delivered in partnership with Mohawk College and Food and Beverage Ontario.

“I'm looking forward to working with Mohawk College and Food and Beverage Ontario on this pilot,” said Lily Lumsden, Senior Regional Manager, YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford. “This project aims to support newcomers and support Food and Beverage Manufacturers with gaining and retaining a skilled labour force. The COVID pandemic has highlighted the critical need of workers being able to understand and follow strict health and safety requirements. This project will improve newcomer employees' English language skills to keep them safe and productive at work. It is a great demonstration of the value of partnerships between community agencies, colleges, and the private sector.”

New immigrants were among the hardest hit by COVID with over 34,000 losing their jobs. Through these programs across our province, the government is focused on ensuring new immigrants get the support they need.

“I am so pleased that this investment will target newcomers in Hamilton who are working in or interested in employment in the food manufacturing sector,” said Donna Skelly, MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook. “When immigrants are given the opportunity to enhance their language skills, it not only benefits them, it also benefits the local economy.”


Quick Facts

  • New immigrants were among the hardest hit by COVID with an employment loss of 12% among recent immigrants compared to only 4% for the Canadian-born population.
  • The $115 million Skills Development Fund offers funding to organizations for innovative projects that address challenges to hiring, training or retaining workers, including apprentices, during the pandemic.
  • Ontario’s Workforce Development Agreement, Skills Development Fund and SkillsAdvance Ontario are supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.