Toronto, ON — The Ontario government is investing $12 million to support people with criminal records to find jobs. The announcement was made on April 26 and will include investments toward nine programs in industries such as construction, manufacturing, hospitality, and food and beverage processing.
“Across Ontario, tens of thousands of people have paid their dues and just want to roll up their sleeves and give back. Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government believes in the power of second chances. I urge business leaders to join us as we smash through the stigma of a criminal record,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development.
The hope is to help up to 2,000 people leaving the justice system or with prior criminal records find employment, according to the province. The funded programs will provide job seekers with employment and training through apprenticeship and technical training, on-the-job learning, and improving job readiness and interview skills.
The projects include wrap-around support like mentorship, job placement, and mental health resources to ensure a smooth transition to the job market.
The Building Up program will receive $593,956 in funding for a holistic project, which is aimed at improving job retention and career progression for individuals who face barriers to employment and have completed pre-apprenticeship programming. This project will help 200 people work in the skilled trades in the Toronto area.
Prison Fellowship Canada will receive $500,000 for a comprehensive project that will provide in-class and on-the-job training support for apprentices, including tutoring, exam preparation, mentorship, and wrap-around support. It will also provide on-the-job support to help journeypersons provide training. This project will help 100 people work in the skilled trades in Mississauga.
The Hammer Heads Program will receive $204,850 to support a project aimed at improving job retention and career progression for apprentices in their program. For more information on the Hammer Heads program, visit www.plumbingandhvac.ca/hammer-heads-program-offers-at-risk-youth-apprenticeship-opportunities. This project will help 200 people work in the skilled trades in the Toronto area.