Initial results show the new system, which streamlines existing employment programs, has already helped 17,200 people, including 5,700 people on welfare, secure employment in Peel, Hamilton-Niagara and Muskoka-Kawartha.
“In the midst of the worst labor shortage in a generation, which is increasing the cost of living for families, we need all hands on deck,” said Monte McNaughton, Secretary of State for Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Ontario’s employment services have failed for too long to help those who need it most, and too many people – especially those on welfare – fall through the cracks of a complicated system. That’s why we’re revolutionizing the system, so anyone who wants can find a job they’re proud of, earn a higher salary, and achieve their dreams.”
Across Ontario, over 800,000 people are on welfare, many of whom use Ontario Works employment assistance to help them find work. However, under the old system, only about 1 percent leave Ontario Works for a job, and nearly half return soon after.
To help more of these individuals secure stable, rewarding careers, the Ontario government is integrating Works Employment Assistance and the Ontario Disability Support Program-Employment Supports program into Employment Ontario, creating a one-stop service that’s easy to Serving and geared to the needs of the local economy, it offers job seekers a range of bespoke job placement services and supports.
“Our government will continue to provide and expand programs that help able-bodied Ontario residents find meaningful employment,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Secretary of State for Children, Community and Social Services. “Under the leadership of Premier Ford and with the incredible work of Secretary McNaughton, we are taking action to give people the tools they need to support themselves and their families.”
Each region of the province is overseen by a system manager who is responsible for the delivery of job placement services in the service areas, managing existing service providers with performance-based financial incentives, and improving outcomes for jobseekers.
In total, service providers from the first three regions have already enabled more than 52,000 people to find their way into professional life. The majority of these individuals are jobseekers who are most at risk of long-term unemployment, including people with disabilities who have previously worked in the justice system and vulnerable youth.
“We are committed to supporting our community with a holistic approach that focuses on both job retention and overall well-being,” said Katherine Orban, general manager, employment services, YMCA of Central East Ontario. “We work side-by-side with candidates, taking a strengths-based approach to support them every step of the way to meaningful work.”
The changes build on the government’s ongoing efforts to attract, support and protect workers and make Ontario the world’s leading place to work, live and raise a family.