Ontario Training Workers for Jobs in Harness Horse Racing

Ontario Training Workers for Jobs in Harness Horse Racing

New program will help people to start rewarding careers on farms and at racetracks

February 09, 2022

Labour, Training and Skills Development

ANCASTER — The Ontario government is investing $2.1 million to train workers for rewarding careers in the horse racing industry. This new training program will provide 250 participants with free training, up to $3,000 to cover expenses, and paid work placements. Employers can also receive up to $1,000 per hire.

Details were shared by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, joined by Donna Skelly, MPP for Flamborough—Glanbrook, Bob Bailey, MPP for Sarnia—Lambton, Randy Pettapiece, MPP for Perth—Wellington, and Bill Walker, MPP for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, at the Ancaster Fairgrounds in Jerseyville.

“Our horse racing industry is something everyone in our province should take pride in, but many farms, racetracks and training centres are having difficulty finding workers with the skills they need,” said Minister McNaughton. “This investment will ensure these growing businesses can find the talent they need while connecting local people with training for careers they can take pride in.”

The horse racing and breeding sector contributes $2.3 billion annually to Ontario’s economy but continues to face a shortage of workers, with over 1,000 jobs going unfilled in September 2021. Today’s investment will help the Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) develop and deliver a training program that teaches participants about horse behavior, handling and care, nutrition, and safety in stables.

“Grooms and caretakers are fundamental to the health, welfare, and safety of the horses, and therefore are critical to the success of our industry,” said Jim Whelan, President of the Ontario Harness Horse Association. “This project is an incredible opportunity for unemployed and under-employed job seekers in small-town Ontario who are eager for a rewarding career in the equine industry.”

The OHHA is using a training curriculum it has developed in close cooperation with Equine Guelph and local employers. The course includes eight weeks of online academic instruction, followed by paid work placements of six to 12 weeks at local employers.

“These programs open doors to young people who have never worked with horses but would embrace a career in the horse industry” said MPP Skelly. “The equine sector needs to fill job vacancies and this program connects trained job seekers with racing industry employers.”

This funding builds 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.

Quick Facts

  • People interested in the program can contact Jim Whelan, President, Ontario Harness Horse Association, at 519-770-5184 for more information.
  • The program runs until October 31, 2022.
  • In 2020, there were 17,500 pet groomers and animal care workers employed in Ontario.
  • Pet groomers and animal care workers in Ontario earned an average wage of $20.68 per hour.
  • This training project is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.

Related Topics

Education and Training

Learn about Ontario’s early years, education and training systems. Includes information on child care, elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges, universities, skills training and financial aid. Learn more

Jobs and Employment

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Media Contacts

Harry Godfrey
Minister’s Office

Ciara Nardelli
Communications Branch