In this modern world of labour shortages and a lack of skilled workers, businesses of all sizes struggle to find the needed employees with the needed skills. And those lucky enough to find those ideal employees often find themselves struggling later to keep and challenge them. Other times, businesses decide to choose promising candidates missing just one or two essential skills and train them to bring them up to speed to match the needs of the business.
That’s where the Canada Ontario Job Grant (COJG) comes in. With the financial support of both the federal and provincial governments, your business can now comfortably invest in the workforce you need to succeed. This is especially important for those businesses that need specific, unique, and tailored skills.
Businesses of all sizes and forms can qualify for this joint cost-sharing program, so keep reading to learn more about how it can benefit your business, how you can access it, and how to navigate the process. And depending on the size of your business, you could end up shouldering only ⅓ of the training costs!
About the Canada Ontario Job Grant
This joint venture between the government of Canada and the province of Ontario offers most businesses the opportunity to train employees of their choice, whether currently employed or holding only an offer of employment. It allows businesses to develop their employees’ skills to meet its distinctive needs.
Businesses share the training costs with the COJG, and businesses of all sizes can find themselves eligible provided your business does not operate in the public realm.
Have you had difficulties finding the right skilled candidates? Do your current employees need to upgrade their skills to evolve along with your business as technology, systems, and processes change? Do you need to challenge your employees to keep them engaged? Then this program could be for you.
How the Canada Ontario Job Grant Works
The most important thing to know is that with the COJG, businesses with more than 100 employees are expected to share the costs with the government 50/50. Those businesses with less than 100 employees only have to pay 1/6 of the costs associated with training. Better yet, small businesses could be eligible for 100% funding if they hire a new employee. Even groups of businesses can apply if they find they have the same training needs, but you must ensure all parties will be eligible.
These costs include such things as the chosen eligible trainer, technology or textbooks necessary for the training, and travel costs if participants must travel more than 24 km. However, you absolutely cannot have your new or existing employee pay for any portion of the training.
Note that you can’t apply for this program after training has already begun, so make sure you go through the application process before you set up any training programs. You’ll also be expected to pay your share in cash, though there is some leeway for small businesses.
Lastly, only an employer can apply to take advantage of this program. Individuals cannot apply, and employers must commit to continued employment for the trainee, whether that means an unemployed individual will start working upon training completion or an existing employee will continue to be employed with the employer.
Eligibility for the Canada Ontario Job Grant
The COJG is a broad-spectrum program that allows most businesses to qualify for funding. Though you will have to share the costs, you could be eligible for financial assistance to train your current and soon-to-be employees if you meet the following criteria:
Your business could even qualify for funding to provide more than one training program concurrently provided you meet all the eligibility criteria. However, those businesses that have accessed funding through this program in the six months before their application are given lower priority.
And given the nature of the COJG, there are a few eligibility requirements potential training candidates must also meet:
Lastly, there are trainer eligibility requirements too, so check those out!
Of course, there are also training limitations. Some of the main ones include executive training courses, business consulting services (This is a big one!), and courses longer than 1 year.
For more in-depth eligibility information and limitations, head to the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities website.
How Much You Can Get from the Canada Ontario Job Grant
Now for the part you’ve been waiting for: how much money you could get. It is the most integral component of training an employee or potential employee after all.
As mentioned earlier, larger businesses—in other words, those with more than 100 employees—could receive 50% of the costs associated with employee training such as tuition, technology, and more. That, however, only goes to a maximum of $10,000 per trainee. Textbooks, technology, equipment, and travel all have a maximum $500 payout cap per trainee, and travel costs are only eligible if the trainee has to travel more than 24 km to receive training.
But if you’re a small business, you could receive funding to cover 0.83% of your training costs, up to the same $10,000 per trainee threshold of course. Want to have all your training costs covered? The COJG could pay 100%, up to $15,000, of costs if you hire an unemployed person, contingent upon training completion.
Now this government funding only happens if you commit to covering the remaining costs, whether that’s 50% for larger businesses or 0.17% for smaller ones. And if you’re training more than one employee, your share for each trainee must be equal. In other words, you can’t cover ¼ of the training cost for one trainee and ⅓ for another.
How to Apply for the Canada Ontario Job Grant
When you’re ready to apply for the COJG, first ensure that both you and your potential trainer are prepared to attest to a few important things such as conflict of interest as you will be required to fill out an attestation form as part of the process.
Then make sure you’ve read through the eligibility requirements for your business, your trainee, and your trainer; your contribution requirements, and—for added information—the details about the program’s implementation. And take a look at the COJG’s Employer Overview Presentation.
Then you can apply online, either directly through the province of Ontario or through the YMCA/YWCA of Ontario. For a brief overview or FAQs, check out the YMCA/YWCA brochure, the Ontario Training Network, and the Centre for Education and Training.
You can also call the EO Contact Centre at 416.326.5656 or 1.800.387.5656 or chat with them live. For more assistance putting your application together, you can email the Ontario Training Network or The Centre for Education and Training. Alternatively, you can call the OTN at 1.866.505.9909 or the CET at 905.949.0049 ext. 1010.
A Helpful Tip to Maximize COJG Funding
Here’s a tip for larger businesses to maximize their funding from the COJG: join forces with one or more other larger businesses that you share training needs with. Apply together as a consortium, and at the very least, reduce the costs associated with training such as training location; travel; and/or materials, equipment, or technology.
And if you’re a smaller-sized business with less than 100 employees, take advantage of the higher priority you receive for funding consideration plus perhaps the 100% funding up to $15,000 the program offers if you hire an unemployed person.
The Bottom Line
Finding, retaining, and engaging skilled employees is a never-ending, difficult prospect. At the same time, tools, technology, equipment, and processes are constantly evolving, so helping your employees keep abreast of that and hiring new employees with the specific skillsets you need is imperative.
So, because the COJG offers funding for training for such a wide range of businesses, you’d be doing your business a favour to take advantage of it. Depending on the size of your business, you may have to pay 50% of training costs, but that’s a lot better than 100%.
Plus, you can not only make use of this program to fund training for more than one employee, you can also avail your business of it repeatedly, whenever you need it.