The Skills Development Fund: The Gateway to Economic Recovery

The Skills Development Fund (SDF) is a government grant offered as the COVID-19 pandemic creates new challenges for employers, workers, and the broader economy. Many challenges faced by these groups include unprecedented job losses in key sectors, reduced employment opportunities, and significant displacement of workers.  

The goal of this fund is to support innovative market-driven projects that will stimulate economic recovery through various approaches and solutions.  

Type of Funding Available 

This is a non-repayable grant with $83.3 million of funding allocated by The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) towards the Skills Development Fund. 

There is no maximum or minimum funding amount. However, to ensure funding makes a significant impact, projects with a budget greater than $150,000 will be given higher priority. 

Eligible Applicants  

  • Employers with a presence in Ontario 
  • Apprenticeship Training Delivery Agents (TDAs) 
  • Non-profit organizations with a physical presence in Ontario, including Indigenous Band offices and Indigenous Skills and Employment Training agreement holders 
  • Professional/industry/employer/sector associations 
  • Trade unions/union affiliated organizations 
  • Municipalities, District Social Services Administration Boards, Consolidated Municipal Service Managers, hospitals  

Eligible Activities 

Activities must address one or more of the programs’ main objectives; target sectors or occupations; client groups; focus areas. (Further details for each category included below) 

Activities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Support 
  • Workforce Development Strategies 

Eligible Expenditures  

  • Operating Costs 
  • Administrative Costs 
  • Capital costs 
  • Employer/Participant Apprentice and Trainer Costs 
  • Travel Costs 

Main Objectives 

  • Ensure a resilient workforce by supporting access into the labour market, and/or retention and capacity-building for employers 
  • Empower workers and job seekers who face higher barriers of entry, and enhance pathways into meaningful and gainful employment 
  • Encourage partnerships across the economy and support innovative ideas and training solutions 

Target Sectors or Occupations 

  • Skilled trades; other high-skilled, technical occupations; and other occupations in high demand 
  • Sectors facing labour market challenges and impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic  
  • Those with unmet demands and talent gaps and priority sectors (manufacturing & advanced manufacturing and health-care occupations) 

Client Groups 

  • Employers, apprentice sponsors 
  • Registered apprentices in skilled trades prescribed in Ontario 
  • Job seekers, workers at risk of job displacement 
  • Those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including women, youth (excluding full-time students and summer student programs), people with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, racialized groups, immigrants 

Focus Areas 

  • Support skills training and talent needs of employers’ post pandemic 
  • Better align education, training, and skills development with labour market  
  • Test local solutions that better support labour market needs because of pandemic 
  • Better support of the employment of underrepresented groups in some sectors 
  • Direct job seekers, laid-off workers, or those at risk of layoff to sectors with high growth prospects or a high demand for workers  
  • Increase access to Ontario’s apprenticeship system through various supports 

Project Timeline  

Round 2 of the SDF will be conducted on an ongoing basis through a continuous intake of applications/proposals for the 2021/22 fiscal year.  

Deadline to apply is March 31, 2022 

Contact EVAMAX today to get started on your application!

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