CTMA Career Ready: Quick Guide for Business Owners

Jobs in the manufacturing industry vastly outnumber the skilled workers that currently exist, so the Ontario government wants to do what they can to help solve that problem. And when you think about the fact that 68% of Canada’s merchandise exports come from manufacturers, it’s easy to see why the province has prioritized it.

As if that’s not enough reason to help the manufacturing industry attract and retain more skilled workers, there’s also this little tidbit: 22% of skilled manufacturing workers will be retiring over the next ten years. So for businesses, this means they have to not only wonder how they’re going to fill their current openings and train their existing employees to keep up with constantly evolving technology, but now they also have to puzzle out how they’re going to replace the workers about to permanently leave the industry.

So, do you need skilled workers? Or do you want to find a career with purpose and tangibility? Does your business manufacture hi-tech goods that are constantly adapting and evolving, and you need to upskill your employees to keep up with it? For those looking for a career and a path forward full of opportunities, Career-Ready with CTMA: Expanding Opportunities (CTMA program) should be your first stop. And for those who need those illusive skilled workers, this program can help solve that problem.

About the CTMA Career Ready Program

The CTMA program is an apprenticeship program for the machine, tool, die, mould, and automation sector that offers grants to businesses to hire new apprentices and/or retrain current employees to better adapt to new technology as the industry changes.

These grants are meant to subsidize the wages of new workers or training of current ones. At the same time, the industry—and the province and country—benefits from increasing the number of skilled workers. And as a bonus, young people or people who want a new direction or opportunity can benefit from learning new skills and gaining new experiences while getting paid.

How CTMA Career Ready Works

Here’s how the program works. This year, for example, CTMA opened 500 work placements for potential workers who met the eligibility criteria. Those placements each lasted from 10 to 16 weeks, and back-to-back placements were allowed, provided they could all be completed before the March 24, 2023, end date.

To make things more concrete, the chosen candidates included new apprentices, high school students and graduates, workers who lost their jobs because of COVID, postsecondary graduates, and co-op students, people looking for full-time work, and existing employees being upskilled for new positions. And there are still so many jobs left to fill.

And not only does the province offer grants to help businesses offset their new apprentice’s wages, but they even coordinate interviews and placements for companies. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

CTMA Career Ready: Eligibility

Before CTMA will bring you or your business into the fold and hand out funding, both manufacturers and potential workers have to meet strict eligibility criteria.

To begin, businesses must be licensed in Ontario and offer the training related to an open job, both also located here. In addition, they must also fully comply with the OHS and Employment Standards Acts, keep up-to-date applicable WSIB insurance, and have the needed third-party general liability insurance. You’ll also have to commit to paying your new or existing employee at least the minimum wage, which is $15.50/hour in Ontario currently.

And manufacturing businesses interested in participating in the Expanding Opportunities program will also have to have already chosen an eligible candidate and created both a job title and a matching description. Not to worry, though! Should you not have a candidate, be unsure of where to find one, or be unable to find a suitable one, you can get in touch with Robert Cattle for assistance.

But that’s not all. Eligible businesses must also operate in the precision-metalworking sector, and their main focus must be the design, manufacture, repair, or assembly of products in at least one of these areas:

  • machine tool building
  • automation/robotics manufacturing
  • mould making
  • tool and die manufacturing
  • precision machining
  • gauge and/or fixture building
  • additive manufacturing/rapid prototyping
  • cutting tools sales and service

Lastly, in regards to employer eligibility, CTMA will give preference to those belonging to the CTMA, but nonmembers will still qualify for the funding program.

Moving on to candidate eligibility, these criteria are thankfully easier to meet and fewer in number. Candidates have to be Canadian citizens or permanent residents and eligible to work in Canada, live in Ontario, and then fit into one of the categories below:

  • new apprentice
  • high-school student
  • high-school graduate
  • postsecondary graduate
  • postsecondary co-op student
  • upskilling existing employee
  • displaced worker
  • job seeker

For detailed definitions of each category, check out the Career-Ready with CTMA: Expanding Opportunities Experiential Work Placement Guidelines & Eligibility Criteria brochure.

Oh, but that’s not all! Make sure the role you’re offering a new or existing employee fits into one of the prioritized categories:

  • 3D printing and additive manufacturing
  • tool and die manufacturing
  • mould making
  • building gauges and fixtures
  • software development/information technology
  • machine-tool building
  • CNC machining/precision metal working
  • robotics and automation
  • CAD/CAM: computer-assisted design/computer-assisted manufacturing
  • PLC programmers
  • design/engineering
  • advanced cutting-tool manufacturing
  • miscellaneous within the industry: finance, administration, sales, marketing, human resources, program management, etc.

How Much You Can Get from CTMA Career Ready

Finally, here’s the answer to your burning question: How much money can you get from the province through the CTMA program to help you bring in new hires or retrain new ones?


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    To begin, the program will fund 50% of the wages for each new work placement or existing employee receiving retraining. However, there is a cap of $5,000 per employee.

    In addition, you can apply to use CTMA to hire or retrain up to 12 employees, but you’ll receive only a maximum of $15,000 to subsidize their wages. You’ll receive your funding just as soon as you, your candidate(s), and a representative of the program sign the Training Placement Agreement.

    How to Apply for CTMA Career Ready

    Both businesses and those interested in the CTMA program and pursuing a career in the manufacturing industry can apply. And applying is as easy as clicking a button. For candidates interested in the program, applying is as simple as filling out an online form.

    If you’re a business applying to the program, be aware that if you’re deemed eligible and are chosen to take part in it, you will be required to submit to certain reporting requirements you can learn about in the program’s brochure.

    For more detailed information about applying, the process, eligibility, or reporting requirements, visit CTMA’s website or give their brochure a quick read.

    And don’t wait! Applications are open now!

    How to Maximize Funding from CTMA Career Ready

    We all need a little insider knowledge when trying something new, don’t we? Here’s yours: you can stack funding when you take advantage of this program. That means you can hunt for additional sources of funding to help you cover your candidate(s) wages, provided your total funding doesn’t exceed 100% of each candidate(s) wages. As with any grant program though, be prepared to submit detailed information about your funding sources and amounts..

    The Bottom Line

    Given the importance of the manufacturing industry in Canada and the rapid, ever-changing technology both used and produced within it, businesses have an ever-existing need for highly skilled labour and to keep retraining existing employees.

    The constantly evolving technology also means job seekers may think a career in manufacturing isn’t for them, when if fact, with this program, they have a chance to learn new skills and enter a satisfying career full of purpose and opportunity.

    This program brings together both sides of the equation and provides funding and assistance to make it happen. This industry is going to be in need of skilled workers for a long time to come, so whether you’re looking for a new or first direction or looking for highly skilled workers—or looking to increase your existing employees’ skills—this program is one to jump on.

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