Province Helping People Start Healthcare Careers in Northern Ontario

Province Helping People Start Healthcare Careers in Northern Ontario

Government investing in free training to address worker shortage

January 06, 2022

Labour, Training and Skills Development

THUNDER BAY — The Ontario government is investing more than $10.6 million to train 500 workers for well-paying and in-demand jobs at hospitals, long-term care homes, and with home care providers in Northern Ontario. This investment will help job seekers get the skills they need to find rewarding careers as medical laboratory assistants, personal support workers, and home support workers.

Details were provided today by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, who was joined by Rod Phillips, Minister of Long-Term Care, and Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs.

“As we continue to combat the new variant, we need all hands on deck,” said Minister McNaughton. “That is why our government is taking action to ensure communities across Ontario have access to the healthcare workers they need, to receive the level of care and services they deserve. With this investment we are addressing the critical labour shortage in healthcare and working for workers in northern Ontario by training hundreds of people with meaningful and rewarding careers.”

Led by Confederation College, this project covers training, fees and textbooks for 500 participants, prioritizing those who are unemployed, underemployed, or at risk of losing their jobs. Each participant will receive a job placement in the community and ongoing support, continuing after they graduate.

“Having worked in the healthcare sector, I know how important the need is for qualified, well-trained staff working in our long-term care agencies, hospitals and home community support agencies,” said Minister Rickford. “By investing in this training, we will be connecting qualified jobseekers with employers offering in-demand healthcare careers right here in our northwestern Ontario communities.”

These changes build on the government’s work to invest in skills training opportunities and attract investments that will create good, well-paying jobs in every region of the province, including investing over $200 million in the Skills Development Fund. The government has also revamped the Second Career program, which provides up to $28,000 for people who’ve lost their jobs to get the training and skills needed to find meaningful careers close to home.

“Training and hiring more staff is part of our government’s plan to fix long-term care and to improve the quality of care residents receive and the quality of life they experience,” said Minister Phillips. “This investment will help 500 Ontarians start new careers across the healthcare sector. I am confident many of them will bring their much needed, new skills to long-term care homes right here in Northern Ontario.”

Quick Facts

  • Each participant could receive up to $3,000 to cover costs such as transportation, childcare, and other living expenses. The first class for this project started in November 2021 and it runs until September 30, 2023.
  • To apply, you can email Confederation College at or call 807-475-6353.
  • The program targets the following communities: Geraldton, Nipigon, Thunder Bay, Dryden, Kenora, Sioux Lookout, Atikokan, Terrace Bay, Marathon, Emo, Fort Frances, Red Lake and Manitouwadge as well as First Nations in the region. The training is held at Confederation College campus locations across the northwest region.
  • The funding for Confederation College’s new project is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.
  • In 2020, the healthcare and social assistance sectors employed about 870,500 people or 12.4 per cent of Ontario’s workforce.
  • There were 2,739 online job postings in the healthcare and social assistance sector in Northern Ontario from January to November 2021.
  • Medical lab assistants earned an average hourly wage of $28 in Ontario in 2020, home and community support workers $20, and personal support workers $20.


“The impact of this investment by the province will support the future of the healthcare sector in our region. We are incredibly grateful for their recognition of the need for support, and their trust in Confederation College to advance this important project. Our strong relationships with local healthcare agencies will facilitate the success of this unique initiative, in which participants will contribute to community and economic growth in northwestern Ontario and essential healthcare delivery for many years to come.”

– Kathleen Lynch
President, Confederation College

“St. Joseph’s Care Group employs over 450 personal support workers who play an integral role as part of our interprofessional health team. Confederation College graduates bring a high standard of training to the workplace, where they support clients to live as independently as possible with dignity and respect. We applaud this investment in opening pathways for job-seekers to gain the post-secondary training necessary for this in-demand and rewarding career.”

– Kelli O’Brien
President and CEO, St. Joseph’s Care Group

“At this critical time in healthcare, developing a skilled local workforce is crucial to maintaining access to quality care in North-western Ontario. DRHC has always been proud to support the education and development of future healthcare professionals in the region. This initiative is a fantastic opportunity for us to partner with Confederation College and support the specialized training of future, employment-ready healthcare workers to address the region’s Health Human Resources needs.”

– Doreen Armstrong-Ross RN, HBSCN
President and CEO, Dryden Regional Health Centre

“CSINW is thrilled to have our employees located throughout Northwestern Ontario be the first incumbents participating in the Home & Community Support Worker Program. We, the community support sector, desperately need more workers to help people stay at home, in their own communities. Free education initiatives like this offers the training workers require. This program is a great stepping stone if anyone is thinking of this line of work. We’ve had employees start their career with us and then go on to pursue their nursing degree – even a doctor!”

– Kristan Miclash
CEO, Community Services for Independence North West

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Media Contacts

Harry Godfrey
Minister’s Office

Kalem McSween
Communications Branch