Investing in People and Businesses in Northern Ontario

Province provides $2.4 million in funding for training in forestry sector

THUNDER BAY — Ontario’s Government is helping people across Northwestern Ontario prepare for successful careers in the forestry sector by partnering with employers and investing in publicy-funded access to skills training.

Today, Ross Romano, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, announced over $2.4 million in provincial funding for two innovative skills training projects. These training projects help get people working by providing them with the technical and job-ready skills they need. The training projects also help employers by providing sector-focused employment services, including job matching and placement, and post-employment retention services.

“Our Government knows employers are looking for job-ready people to help fill vacancies in Northern Ontario,” said Minister Romano. “By funding projects like these, we’re creating opportunities for 200 people to put their skills to work in good, permanent jobs. This funding also allows our government to support the training of more Indigenous learners for rewarding, well-paying careers in the forestry sector. We’re not just building skills and capacity, we’re investing in people and their potential.”

Confederation College is receiving $1,193,467 in funding to help 144 workers and people looking for jobs gain the skills and work experience needed by employers in Thunder Bay. The training will take place at Nakina, Kenora, Thunder Bay and White River. It will focus on skills and experience needed for mechanical harvesting equipment operator, wood processing basics, control systems and lifeskills training. The program also includes paid job placements with participating employers.

“Our government is committed to opening up the forestry sector to jobs and this funding will help the industry find the skilled workforce it needs to grow,” said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “The forestry sector generates over $16.6 billion in total revenue and supports approximately 155,000 direct and indirect jobs in roughly 260 communities across the province. We recognize that many northern and rural communities depend on the sector and that’s why we are developing a new forestry sector strategy to help the industry innovate, grow and create jobs.”

“Resolute has a strong operating presence in the region, and just last year we renewed and expanded our longstanding collaboration with Confederation College to support high-quality training for local youth,” said Michael Martel, Vice-President, (Wood Products Operations – Ontario) at Resolute Forest Products. “By investing in training and jobs, the Ontario government is demonstrating its commitment to creating new employment opportunities in the forest products industry and in Northwestern Ontario. A skilled labour market and sustainable business environment remain critical to the forest products industry.”

The SkillsAdvance Ontario project, Nishnawbe Forestry Operation and Sawmill Training Program, is led by Oshki-Pimache-O-Win: the Wenjack Education Institute. This project will help 56 Indigenous workers and unemployed job seekers prepare for careers in forestry-related professions. The training will take place in the Greenstone area and include on-the-job exposure to silviculture, sawmill, and harvesting operations training. Training will start this fall.

Students enrolled will learn skills that propel them on a promising career path. The program is designed to bridge the gap between the classroom and job site, while positioning community members for local employment at sawmills and further education and training opportunities in the forestry industry,” said Gary Bruyere, Acting Executive Director, Oshki-Pimache-O-Win: The Wenjack Education Institute. “Combined with the spirit of innovation, culture and determination from the students, the forestry operations and trades training initiative will create a new generation of skilled professionals for a future of endless opportunities. This will enable them to actively participate and contribute to the economy and will provide an overall improved quality of life for families and communities.”

There are currently 19 active SkillsAdvance Ontario projects across Ontario, dedicated to sector-specifc training for jobs in the steel and aluminum, manufacturing, logistics, tourism and hospitality, forestry and other sectors.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is supporting the two SkillsAdvance Ontario projects with over $2.4 million over the next year.
  • Ontario’s forestry sector contributes $16.6 billion to the economy and supports an estimated 155,000 direct and indirect jobs in roughly 260 communities across the province.
  • Confederation College is one of more than 300 Employment Ontario partners across Ontario.
  • The Employment Ontario network offers a range of services and supports that help businesses find talent and connect jobseekers to training and job opportunities.

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