During today’s provincial address, Premier Doug Ford and the Ontario government announced that they are launching an online portal to help individuals working in industries heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic find work.
Since the pandemic began, many workforces have had to lay off their employees due to the lack of needed labour and loss of revenue.
In the address made today, Ford and Monte McNaughton, the Minister of Labour, have said that the new online action centre will provide support for these unemployed individuals.
McNaughton went on to use the hospitality field as an example of a heavily affected industry, as unions such as UNITE HERE Local 75 have lost many workers.
“UNITE HERE Local 75, which represents workers in the sector, tells us that 90 percent of their members have been laid off and that’s why we have to step in and act,” McNaughton said.
“Things are still tough for a lot of people in our province now. The hospitality sector has been particularly hit very hard”.
This union represents workers in hotels, restaurants, food service, and more. Ford and McNaughton have gone on to say that this new action centre will be able to provide support to up to 7,000 of these workers.
Services like online counselling, stress management, safety and technical skill training, and mental health resources are expected to be provided for these laid-off workers.
According to Ford, nearly $2 million will be invested in this online service as the province gradually and safely reopens.
“This skills training will ensure these people can get back to work with the skills and know-how to help businesses adapt to the new environment,” Ford said about the online service.
More programs announced
A grant program for apprentices in construction, industrial, motive power, and service sector trades has also been announced. This grant program will ensure these apprentices can buy the equipment needed in these fields.
The Ontario Tools Grant program will launch in the summer according to Ford and has gone on to say that it will help up to 11,600 apprentices get a “head start” in the skills trade.
“As more construction gets going, we are making sure our skills trade people are set up for success, making sure they have the tools they need,” Ford said.
Ford has also announced that loans owed by apprentices for work-related tool purchases will be forgiven, which is equal to nearly $10 million.
“We are doing everything we can to help… This represents about $500 back in the pockets of 19,000 apprentices for new tools, equipment, clothing and manuals”.