The Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG) is a training incentive that helps employers develop a more skilled and engaged workforce. Through the program, companies can receive funding to purchase short-term training for new and existing employees. Funding can be accessed once every six months, which gives forward-planning companies a significant opportunity to expand training budgets and train more employees than would be possible otherwise.
By accessing COJG funding, employers may receive up to 50-83% of eligible project costs to a maximum $10k-$15k in Ontario training grants per trainee.
This article further explores frequently asked questions about the Canada-Ontario Job Grant, including how much funding your project could receive, eligibility criteria, and how to apply. For a more general summary of the program, please refer to our COJG Funding Overview blog.
About the Canada-Ontario Job Grant Funding Program
What is the Canada-Ontario Job Grant?
Does your business purchase training programs to strengthen employee skillsets? If so, the Canada-Ontario Job Grant may be able to reduce a significant portion of training expenses.
Since 2014, COJG has provided Ontario businesses with funding for training employees. It directly offsets costs such as trainer fees and course materials needed to transfer new skills and abilities to employees. Through the program, employers specify the group of trainees they wish to receive training, evaluate and hire a suitable trainer, provide the training, and recover a portion of training costs once the project is complete.
What type of funding does COJG offer?
The Canada-Ontario Job Grant offers non-repayable grant funding. These funding contributions do not have any repayment requirements if an awarded company completes the project as described through their application. Should a company not complete the training or not deliver the outcomes promised through their application, a portion or all of the funding awarded can be taken back and re-administered for other projects.
How much funding for training is available?
The value of COJG Ontario training grants depends on a couple of factors, including how many employees the applicant company has and whether new hires are included in the training.
- Large Employers (100+ Employees): Up to 50% of eligible training expenses to a maximum $10,000 per trainee.
- Small Employers (<100 Employees): Up to 83% of eligible training expenses to a maximum $10,000 per trainee.
- Small Employers Hiring and Training Unemployed Individuals: Up to 100% of eligible training costs to a maximum $15,000 per trainee. All trainees are eligible for increased funding, not just those who are new hires.
What is COJG consortium training?
COJG consortium training is an opportunity for multiple employers to pool training resources and achieve common training goals. Most common among small employer networks and industry associations that represent multiple businesses, consortium training requires a lead applicant to coordinate training. This lead applicant is also responsible for coordinating other companies in the consortia, working with the training vendor, and handling incoming/outgoing payments.
COJG consortiums receive funding contributions based on the size of companies included. If there is a large employer (100+ employees) in the training group, the consortium can access up to 50% of eligible training expenses to a maximum $10,000 per trainee. If all employers have less than 100 employees, then the consortium will qualify for up to 83% of training expenses.
Can applicants combine COJG funding with other government programs?
The Canada-Ontario Job Grant cannot stack with other government funding programs to cover the same training costs. Employers must pay the balance of costs not covered by COJG. For example, if a large employer received $20,000 in COJG funding for a $40,000 project, they are required to pay the other $20,000 and cannot use other sources of government funding to cover those costs.
However, COJG can be used to complement other government funding programs as part of a larger strategic project. For example, if a company undertakes a large facility expansion resulting in new hires, it may use funding to cover related costs while also leveraging COJG training grants to deliver sales and leadership training to both new and existing employees.
How many trainees can companies include per application?
There is no limit to the number of training participants that can be included in one application. Companies choose a group of employees they wish to train, and the program covers a portion of costs up to $10,000-$15,000 per trainee.
How to Qualify for COJG Ontario Training Grants
What applicants are eligible for the Canada-Ontario Job Grant?
While SMEs are the most frequent applicants to the Canada-Ontario Job Grant, a variety of organizations can apply, including:
- For-profit business;
- Non-profit organization;
- Employer consortium; or
- First Nations band council.
All COJG applicants must also meet the following criteria:
- Have a license to operate in Ontario;
- Apply for third-party training programs that are delivered in Ontario;
- Abide by the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Employment Standards Act;
- Possess Workplace Safety and Insurance Board or private workplace safety insurance coverage; and
- Maintain third-party liability insurance coverage.
What types of training does COJG support?
COJG funding supports third-party training for skills that are in high demand by employers. Companies can choose the training that meets the needs of their company, and purchase the training as offered by a private trainer, university or college, school board, or union-based training centre.
Common training categories include:
- Career or Development Training: Upgrading the knowledge, skills, and ability of employees to support their career advancement.
- Maintenance and Refresher Skills Training: Updating and maintaining the knowledge, skills, and ability of specialists within an organization.
- Essential Skills Training: Providing the skills needed for work, learning, and life. These are easily transferrable skills employees can use to find a job and succeed in a basic workplace.
Types of skills gained through training are typically expressed as:
- Specialized or Technical Skills: Including skills required to operate a particular machine or use a particular technology.
- Management and Business Skills: Including strategic planning, leading and motivating, allocating and controlling resources, coordinating and organizing, recruiting and hiring, and supervising.
- Essential Skills: Including reading, writing, document use, numeracy, oral communication, thinking, digital technology, working with others, and continuous learning.
- Soft Skills: Including job readiness skills, personal management skills, and teamwork.
Are some types of training ineligible for COJG grants?
Training programs will not receive funding assistance in the following circumstances:
- Internal Training: Training programs led by company managers or other employees. Training expenses covered through COJG are predominantly used to cover the costs of training programs purchased from a third-party vendor.
- Product Vendor Training: Training where the vendor is involved in the creation/sale of the product and is also conducting the training in how to use that particular product. Training on software or equipment must be performed by an external organization.
- Other training project costs that can not be claimed for COJG funding include:
- In-house training programs; and
- Training programs performed outside of Ontario.
What impacts/results must the training provide?
Training should lead to:
- New or recent (last three months) hires participating in the training;
- Job title promotions or changes to accommodate new responsibilities;
- Wage increases of $1/hour or more; and
- Layoff avoidance (if applicable).
Are all employees eligible to participate in COJG-funded training?
If employees qualify for funding, they can be included in a COJG funding application. Trainee eligibility criteria requires that participants are:
- Ontario residents;
- Canadian citizens;
- Permanent residents or protected persons;
- Not already participating in full-time education (secondary or post-secondary schooling); and
- Not receiving training funded through any type of government program.
What expenses are eligible for the Canada-Ontario Job Grant?
Most typical training costs can be recovered through COJG. These include:
- Third-party trainer fees;
- Tuition, student, and examination fees;
- Textbooks and course materials; and
- Training-related software.
While most training programs qualify for the Canada-Ontario Job Grant, applicants are most successful when applying for one of three training categories:
- Career or Development Training: Enhancing the skills, knowledge, and ability of employees to support career advancement.
- Maintenance and Refresher Skills Training: Updating and maintaining the skills, knowledge, and ability of specialists within an organization.
- Essential Skills Training: Providing the skills needed for work, learning, and life. These are easily transferable skills employees can use to find a job and succeed in the workplace.
How to Apply and Receive Funding from the Canada-Ontario Job Grant
What information is required for COJG applications?
To submit a competitive Canada-Ontario Job Grant application, employers must include:
- Three training quotes that demonstrate the selected trainer offers the best value-for-money; and
- Information on training participants, including current and future earnings, as well as the number of new hires included in the training.
How are COJG funding applications assessed?
COJG applications are evaluated by how well a training project aligns to the program’s strategic priorities. Applicants should aim to submit a tier 1 application, as these are most likely to be funded and will receive approval relatively quickly. Assessment tiers include:
- Tier 1: Training that results in a new or better job (includes retaining employees who have received a formal notice of layoff) and is the first approved application for the employer in the last six months;
- Tier 2: Training that will lead to a new or better job but the employer has had an approved COJG application in the past six months or the incumbent employees will not receive an increase in wage or change in position; and
- Tier 3: Training with a cost per trainee below $500 and under one week in duration, or training that does not result in a new or better job for employees.
Is there a deadline to apply for the Canada-Ontario Job Grant?
Applicants can submit COJG funding proposals to the program at any time. There is a continuous intake of applications year-round, and applications are assessed on a first-come, first-reviewed basis. Application approval typically takes three to five weeks and applicants must receive approval before incurring funding-eligible expenses.
When can I start the training?
Training can begin once the project is approved by a local service provider or the Ministry. Applicants will have up to 12 months to complete training as outlined in their application.
When do I receive funding?
Funding reimbursement is provided in stages. Typically, businesses receive between one and five pay outs throughout the training project totaling 85% of the overall training grant amount. The remaining 15% can be claimed after training is complete and employees have received the training benefits.