Initial results show the new system, which streamlines existing employment programs, has already helped 17,200 people, including 5,700 people receiving social assistance, secure employment in Peel, Hamilton-Niagara, and Muskoka-Kawartha.
“In the middle of the greatest labour shortage in a generation which is increasing the cost of living for families, we need all hands on deck,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “For too long, Ontario’s employment services have failed to help those who need them the most, with too many people – especially those on social assistance – falling through the cracks of a complicated system. That is why we are revolutionizing the system, so that anyone who wants to, can find a job they are proud of, earn a bigger paycheque and make their dreams a reality.”
Across Ontario, there are over 800,000 people on social assistance, many of whom use Ontario Works Employment Assistance to help them find jobs. Under the old system, however, only about one per cent leave Ontario Works for a job, with almost half returning soon after.
To help more of these individuals secure stable, rewarding careers, the government is integrating Ontario Works Employment Assistance and the Ontario Disability Support Program- Employment Supports program into Employment Ontario, creating a one-stop service that’s easy to use, focused on the needs of the local economy and provides job seekers with a suite of tailored employment services and supports.
“Our government will continue to deliver and expand programming that helps Ontarians who are able to work find meaningful employment,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “Under the leadership of Premier Ford, and with the incredible work of Minister McNaughton, we are taking action to give people the tools they need to support themselves and their families.”
Each region of the province will be overseen by a system manager, which is responsible for delivering employment services in the catchment 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 helped more than 52,000 people find a path to employment. The majority of these individuals are jobseekers who are at the greatest risk of long-term unemployment, including those with disabilities, have had prior involvement in the justice system, and at-risk youth.
“We are committed to supporting our community using a holistic approach that focuses on both employment retention and all-around wellness,” said Katherine Orban, General Manager, Employment Services, YMCA of Central East Ontario. “Working side-by-side with candidates, we use a strength-based approach to assist them every step of the way to find meaningful work.”
The changes build on the government’s ongoing efforts to attract, support, and protect workers, making Ontario the top place in the world to work, live and raise a family.