Canada-Ontario Jobs Grant

What is the Canada-Ontario Job Grant?

On March 28, 2014, Ontario signed the Canada-Ontario Job Fund Agreement with the federal government. The agreement is a key source of funding for new, employer-driven, training initiatives and represents an opportunity for the province to engage more effectively with employers to support Ontarians in obtaining the skills required to fill and succeed in available jobs. Under the agreement, Ontario will deliver the Canada-Ontario Job Grant.

The grant will provide direct financial support for employers who wish to purchase training for their workforce. In this grant program, employers choose the individuals they would like to have trained, and the training that meets their workforce development needs.

This program is intended to support employers in taking a greater role in workforce development. The cost of training is a shared investment between employers and the government.

What kind of training will be covered by the grant?

The training is intended for employed individuals acquiring new skills for their current job, or to prepare for another job with the same employer, and for unemployed individuals seeking a new job. The employer must have a job available at the end of the training for the individual being trained.

Training must not exceed one year in duration and must be provided by one of the following:

- Colleges of applied arts and technology
- Publicly-assisted universities
- School boards
- Private trainers operating in compliance with the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005
- Union-based training centres

How much funding is an employer eligible to receive through COJG?

The Canada-Ontario Job Grant supports eligible training costs up to a maximum of $10,000 per grant, with additional flexibility for small employers.

Eligible training costs are as follows:

- Tuition or other training provider fees
- Textbooks, software and other required materials (e.g., training clothing, tools, equipment, disability supports [as noted below], etc.)
- Mandatory student fees
- Examination fees

What is the timing for implementation of the COJG?

As of the launch date, the application form will be available online at https://www.eoss.tcu.gov.on.ca/COJG_Online/home.htm?lang=en and employers may fill out applications for funding. Messaging on the website will note that employers can submit applications beginning in fall 2014.

Decisions will be made beginning in fall 2014.

What kind of role will employers have in the Canada-Ontario Job Grant?

Employers that wish to access the Grant are responsible for identifying the particular skills gaps they wish to address, the types of training that would address those gaps, and the specific individuals they would like to see trained. Employers must provide a cash contribution towards the cost of training. Some additional flexibility is available for small employers (i.e., employers with 50 or fewer employees can make up-to-half of their contribution through wages paid to the employee).

Employers accessing the grant also must commit to having a job for the individual upon training completion (i.e., same or new for incumbent workers). For exceptional circumstances, this may involve entering into a job placement agreement with an unemployed individual that would commence during or after training.

What is the required contribution an employer must make to be eligible for funding?

EMPLOYERS WITH 50 OR FEWER EMPLOYEES

Employers with 50 or fewer employees are required to contribute a minimum onethird towards the training costs of each individual participating in training funded
through the grant. A minimum of one-half of their one-third contribution must be in cash and applied towards eligible training costs.

The remainder of the employer’s contribution can be made in-kind through wages paid to the individual while they are participating in training. For employers applying for multiple grants, a minimum one-third contribution must be made for each participating individual (i.e., an employer cannot contribute more than one-third for some individuals and less than one-third for others).

Where an employer makes a contribution of one-third of the eligible training costs, the grant will pay remaining eligible training costs, up to a maximum of $10,000 per individual.

EMPLOYERS WITH OVER 50 EMPLOYEES

Employers with over 50 employees are required to make minimum one-third cash contributions towards eligible training costs.

If the employer meets all eligibility criteria, does this mean that they are guaranteed funding?

No. Employers are not guaranteed funding solely on meeting the eligibility criteria.

Why is training supported by the Canada-Ontario Job Grant limited to one year in duration?

Training supported through the grant focuses on occupation-specific skills that address more immediate gaps or needs identified by an employer. Other Employment Ontario training programs, such as Second Career, support multiyear, post-secondary education and advanced credential obtainment.

Offering training of up-to-one year in duration minimizes overlap with programs such as Second Career, and allows grant resources to be directed towards addressing the immediate skills gaps identified by employers.

Who is administering the COJG?

For training applications involving 25 or fewer participants, the Canada-Ontario Job Grant service provider will make grant funding decisions and manage/administer grant agreements with employers. For training applications involving over 25 participants, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities will make grant funding decisions and
manage/administer grant agreements with employers.

What forms need to be completed throughout the COJG process?

Employer Application Form: This form will be filled-out by the employer and it will act as the request for COJG funding. If the application is approved, it will act as the employer registration form to enter employer information into the data management system and for follow-up purposes. Please see the form for more details on privacy.

Employer Registration for Consortiums: This form must be completed for each employer represented in a consortium application. The ministry will request these forms as needed.

Participant Registration Form: This form will need to be completed only after the application is approved for funding, by each individual participating in training. Please see the form for more details on privacy.

Placement Agreement: For exceptional circumstances, where there will be a job placement for an unemployed individual, the placement agreement will be completed and agreed to between the employer, placement individual and service provider.

Electronic Funds Transfer Form: Employers requesting training for over 25 participants and all consortiums must complete this form.

Application Process

Must an employer have all of the trainees chosen when submitting an application for funding?

No. The employer only submits information on the number of incumbent workers and new hires to be trained, and the impact this training will have on their positions. After the application form is approved by the ministry, employers will be asked to send the completed Participant Registration Forms.

Where does an employer submit a completed application?

Completed employer applications for over 25 training participants and ALL consortium applications must be submitted to the appropriate ministry office. For completed applications for 25 or fewer participants, applications will be submitted to a COJG service provider. There are instructions on the application form as to where to submit your postal code in order to select the appropriate service provider.

If you have difficulties, please contact the Employment Ontario Contact Centre at their toll-free number: 1-800-387-5656, or through the TTY line: 1-866-533-6339, or on the ministry’s website www.tcu.gov.on.ca.

If I have submitted a question regarding the program to one of the ministry mailboxes or a service provider, how long will it take to obtain an answer?

All inquiries will receive a written response within ten days of submission. You may also contact the Employment Ontario Contact Centre at their toll-free number: 1- 800-387-5656, or through the TTY line: 1-866-533-6339, or on the ministry’s website www.tcu.gov.on.ca.

How long will it take to assess the application?

Employers will receive acknowledgement of receipt of their application within 24 hours of submission. Initial applications will be reviewed beginning in the fall of 2014 and decisions will be made shortly thereafter. Applications will be reviewed on a continual basis and employers will be notified as soon as a decision has been made. The length of the application process will vary depending on the number of applications received by the same ministry office or service provider.

How will applications be assessed?

Applications will be assessed on a continual basis by the ministry and the service providers. A consistent framework will be used to assess and prioritize all applications based on the strategic priorities for the COJG. The priorities are:

- Supporting unemployed individuals
- Supporting job creation
- Increased job quality
- Job advancement

Application Form

What does company-specific training mean?

This is training that is specific to your company's processes and/or equipment, proprietary software, etc.

The application form asks for information on "incumbent" and "new hires." What do these mean?

An incumbent is an existing employee in your organization who is on the payroll. A new hire is an individual not on the organization's payroll. This individual is sponsored by the employer through a permanent or conditional offer of employment.

Why does the application request information on future state of the trainees (e.g., post-training position, salary, number of hours weekly)?

These training details are requested because they are part of the evaluation criteria of the program. At completion of the program, service providers will follow-up with
both employers and trainees to collect outcome information. The information in the application will help with the outcome analysis.

What does an employer do if the training request is greater than $25,000 but there are not three, viable training institutions?

If the training request is greater than $25,000, employers must include information on three training institutions that offer the training being requested. Under circumstances where there are not three viable institutions (e.g., a very specific training that only the product vendor delivers, etc.), the employer must provide a clear rationale on the application form for why they have not provided three options, in order to be considered for funding.

What are the definitions of the training categories listed in the application form?

Career or Development Training: This type of training is designed to upgrade the knowledge, skills, and ability of employees to help them assume greater responsibility in higher positions.

Maintenance and Refresher Skills Training: This training is offered to update and maintain the specialized subject-matter knowledge of the beneficiaries. Refresher training keeps the specialists, administrators, subject-matter officers, extension supervisors, and frontline workers updated and enables them to add to the knowledge and skills they have already. Maintenance or refresher training usually deals with new information and new methods, as well as review of older materials.

Essential skills: (such as reading, writing and numeracy) are the skills needed for work, learning and life. They are the foundation for learning all other skills and are used in every job. They help people to find and get a job, as well as to adapt and succeed in the workplace.

Can an employer request more than one training type on one application?

No. Each COJG Employer Application is restricted to one course. Multiple modules of an individual course may be accepted, but must be delivered by the same training provider.

Employer Eligibility

Which employers are eligible for the Canada-Ontario Job Grant?

Individual private and not-for-profit sector employers, First Nations band councils and organizations acting on behalf of employers (including union training halls, industry associations, training coordinators and other employer consortiums that meet the requirements below) are eligible to apply for the grant. Eligibility criteria apply to all employers regardless of whether they are training one or multiple individuals. An employer must:

- make minimum cash and in-kind contributions towards training costs
- employ the individual selected for training. If the employer has hired an unemployed individual to fill a vacancy, the offer of employment can be conditional upon the individual having completed training and subject to the employer’s regular probationary period be licensed to operate in Ontario
- be applying for training that is delivered in Ontario and is related to a job that is also located in Ontario
- comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Employment Standards Act
- maintain appropriate Workplace Safety and Insurance Board or private workplace safety insurance coverage
- have adequate third-party general liability insurance, as advised by its insurance broker
- comply with all applicable federal and provincial human rights legislation, regulations, and any other relevant standards.

An employer must not:

- be a federal, provincial or municipal government and/or agency
- be a designated broader public sector organization, as defined by the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act (e.g., a school board, university, college or hospital)
- be district social services administration boards established under the District Social Services Administration Boards Act (notwithstanding their exclusion under the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act)
- be a Canada-Ontario Job Grant service provider or an Employment Service provider
- be currently in receipt of other government funds related to the same skills training for the same individual (e.g., Employment Service or Youth Employment Fund Job Placements)
- use training participants to displace existing staff or replace staff who are on lay-off.

What is a consortium and is it eligible for funding?

Organizations acting on behalf of a consortium of employers are eligible to apply for the Canada-Ontario Job Grant. For the purposes of the Canada-Ontario Job Grant, an employer consortium is defined as an organization which has a formal agreement to represent and/or coordinate activities benefiting a specific group of two or more employers that will of
pool their resources to support common training activities and achieve common training objectives and goals.

Each employer within a consortium must meet the employer eligibility requirements in order for the consortium to be considered for grant funding.

Informal organizations of employers (i.e., employers not represented by a separate legal entity that have opted to form a consortium and prepare a joint grant application) are eligible to apply. However, one employer must be the “lead” applicant on behalf of the other employers within the consortium. If approved, the lead applicant would be the holder of the legal agreement with the ministry or service provider and would be accountable for all activities and outcomes.

Can an employer access COJG funds more than once?

Yes. An employer may apply for the Grant more than once, as long as they continue to meet the employer eligibility criteria in the guidelines and have been successful in
previous participation.

As there is a limited budget for the grant, applications will be assessed on an individual basis and prior funding does not entitle an employer to future funding.

Can a single employer have more than one training agreement running concurrently?

There is no specific policy that precludes employers from having more than one training agreement running concurrently. However, each training plan would be required to stand on its own merit and be assessed against the priorities of the program. It should also be noted that, in situations where funding is limited, or the ministry has identified specific sectors that it wishes to support, additional assessment criteria may be employed.

Can an individual apply directly for the grant?

No. An individual is not eligible to apply directly. Individuals working with an employment service provider may be recommended to an employer to hire, however, it is the employer’s choice who to hire and train.

Do Schedule 2 employers under WSIB, still qualify under the COJG program eligibility criteria?

The difference between Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 employers under WSIB is simply a matter of classification as it relates to how claims are administered. Being Schedule 2 employer does not preclude you from being eligible for the program. This eligibility requirement under the program is to ensure that employers applying for the program have complied with legal requirements by having appropriate coverage for their employees in the event of an accident.

Training

What is an eligible training institution?

- Colleges of applied arts and technology
- Publicly-assisted universities
- School boards
- Private trainers operating in compliance with the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005
- Union-based training centres
- Product vendors

Duration of training is limited to one year. Does the training need to happen in 12 consecutive months, or can it be 12 months but extend over one year (e.g., multiple modules with breaks in between)?

The training agreement cannot exceed one year in duration. Therefore, the training must all take place within the year. If the employer would like further training or additional courses that exceed the year, they must submit a separate Employer Application Form. Applications are assessed on an individual basis and because of the limited budget, there is no guarantee that additional training will be approved.

What is full-time training for COJG?

Full-time training is defined by the training provider.

Is in-class apprenticeship training eligible under the COJG?

No. Apprenticeship training is not eligible for funding under the COJG. In-class apprenticeship training is already funded by the ministry through the apprenticeship seat purchase.

Are trainees paid by the employer during their training period?

It is up to the employer whether the individual will be paid while in training.

Can unemployed individuals receive income support while they are on training?

No. There is no income support for trainees under the COJG. The Canada-Ontario Job Fund Agreement specifies that the Grant may only be used to support training costs such as tuition, textbooks software and other required materials, mandatory student fees and examination fees. Costs outside of these categories are not permitted.

Participant Eligibility

What individuals are eligible for the Canada-Ontario Job Grant?

All people who are: residents of Ontario and either a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person, and meet the eligibility requirements below, are eligible to participate in training funded through the Canada-Ontario Job Grant.

Eligibility requirements are as follows:

- Employed individuals must be identified by their employer.
- Unemployed individuals must also be sponsored by an employer, demonstrated through a permanent or conditional offer of employment.
- An individual must not be participating in full-time training or education or any other government training intervention that offers funding support for
same tuition, books or other training related costs (e.g., Second Career).

Can trainees participate in training more than once?

Trainees can only participate in one training course at a time and may not repeat the same training. Trainees may be put forward by their employer to participate in
subsequent training through a separate application.

For individuals who are on Ontario Works, are they able to continue receiving their benefits if taking part in COJG?

Income support status is not an eligibility criteria for individuals to participate in the grant. Decisions are made based on personal circumstances. It is up to the Ministry
of Community and Social Services or Ontario Works delivery agents to determine whether participants will continue to receive their Ontario Works benefits while taking part in training through COJG.

Are individuals with 900 series SIN numbers eligible to participate in the COJG?

Yes. As long as the participant is a resident of Ontario and either a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person. According to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a protected person is a person who has been determined to be either (a) a Convention Refugee or (b) a person in need of protection (including, for example, a person who is in danger of being tortured if deported from Canada). A protected person may have a work permit which does not specify employment conditions, also known as an open work permit (IMM5205). 

Individuals who meet the criteria above must also meet all other eligibility requirements.

Are there specific criteria (aside from self-identification) that will be used to determine whether a person with a disability qualifies for disability training supports, such as assistive devices?

Assessment on the provision of disability supports will be made on a case-by-case basis by the service provider. Essentially, each request will have to demonstrate that training would be impossible for the participant without the support being provided.

It should be clear that the participant’s success would hinge on the necessary support being in place.

Placements

Are job placements eligible for COJG funding?

Under exceptional circumstances, job placements are available to employers hiring unemployed individuals to fill job vacancies, and who wish to use the grant to purchase existing training for their new hires.

Individuals who the employers feel require a placement need to be assessed by a service provider.

What are the exceptional circumstances for placing an unemployed individual?

Job placements would only be available to employers and the individuals they have identified for training if all of the following exceptional circumstances are met:

- The employer has hired an unemployed individual to fill a job vacancy (i.e., job placements do not apply where a new hire has not taken place and incumbent workers are training for same or new position).
- The individual has barriers to employment that have been identified by the service provider and that may impact the individual’s long-term labour market attachment.
- The employer has indicated that the offer of employment is conditional upon the individual’s completion of training, and that they would like to assess the individual’s performance on the job prior to hiring them permanently.

Job placements offered as part of Canada-Ontario Job Grant must not exceed four months in duration and may begin during or following completion of training (based on occupational requirements and the nature of skills training). Exceptions to the maximum four months duration may be made for persons with disabilities.

Can an employer receive placement incentives for the same individual through Employment Services or Youth Employment Fund and COJG?

An employer cannot receive multiple incentives for the same individual. A placement incentive is meant to offset additional costs the employer might incur as a result of
the placement (e.g., additional supervisory costs, administration, job orientation, etc.) so it would not be appropriate to receive ministry funds more than once for the
same individual. Placement incentives are not to be used to offset wages.