Ontario Builds Skilled Workforce with Strengthened Employment Services

Ontario’s Government is putting people first by improving employment services with a new system that focuses on the needs of local communities, workers and employers to help Ontarians get good, quality jobs. These improvements will help job seekers find and keep good jobs and assist employers in recruiting the skilled workers they need to build the skilled workforce that keeps Ontario open for business and open for jobs. 

Preparing the workforce Ontario needs
The Government of Ontario is investing in several initiatives that support significant job creation and economic growth across the province, including:

  • New infrastructure funding to build and upgrade schools, hospitals, roads and transit
  • Making it faster and easier to build housing, help boost housing supply and make housing more affordable through Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan
  • Helping to create the conditions for the automotive sector to thrive and grow in Ontario through the Driving Prosperity plan

These initiatives will create thousands of good jobs in construction, manufacturing and other high-demand sectors that will need to be filled by workers with the right skills and experience. Modernizing Ontario’s employment services is critical to preparing the workforce needed to support the growing economy. A key step in this process will be to launch a new employment services system in three regions.

Engaging with stakeholders

Since announcing Ontario’s plan to modernize employment services in February 2019, the government has engaged with nearly 200 service providers, municipalities, colleges, not-for-profit organizations, Indigenous partners and private sector organizations to get critical input on the new employment system. Engaging with these key stakeholders has helped to:

  • refine the new employment services system
  • determine the interest and ability of local organizations to take on the service system manager role. Service system managers will be responsible for planning and managing the delivery of employment services at a local level in their region
  • encourage partnerships between organizations so they can most effectively address the needs of job seekers and employers in their region

The government will also specifically consult with First Nations partners on the future design of employment services in First Nations communities starting this summer.

Prototype regions

The three regions selected for the phased launch of the new employment services system include diverse urban and rural communities. The new system will launch in fall 2019 in the following communities:

  • Region of Peel (urban catchment),
  • Hamilton-Niagara (urban/rural catchment that includes Hamilton, Brant, Haldimand-Norfolk and Niagara),
  • Muskoka-Kawarthas (rural catchment that includes Muskoka, Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough and Northumberland).

The transition to a new province-wide employment services system will happen over time. Those looking for work and employers will be provided with updates on any changes to ensure everyone is aware of how to get the services they need. Employment services across the rest of the province will move to the new system starting in 2022.

Competition for service system managers

An additional aspect of improving the way employment services work is the selection of lead organizations to oversee the employment services system in their regions.

The selection of service system managers for the three prototype regions will be made through a competitive process that is open to any public, not-for-profit and private sector organization. Service system managers will plan and deliver employment services at a local level and receive funding based on achieving results. Interested organizations can learn more at https://ontariotenders.app.jaggaer.com/esop/nac-host/public/web/login.html.

Strengthening services across Ontario

As the new employment services system is implemented in the prototype regions, the government will continue to strengthen services across the entire province by:

  • Increasing the focus on getting results by tying more funding for service providers to outcomes of people finding a job or businesses finding the right workers
  • Working with municipalities to plan more locally-focused employment and social assistance services
  • Improving wrap-around supports for social assistance clients so they get the services they need when they need them to help them find and keep good jobs

Additional Resources