Skills Development Fund (SDF) Open Intake: Additional $90M to Address Labour Market Shortage

In the previous two rounds of funding, the Government of Ontario’s Skills Development Fund (SDF) provided support for 388 approved training projects across the province which assisted in finding more than 393,000 people career options in competitive industries. To improve economic stability and growth, the SDF is now open for a third round of funding with an additional $90 million investment to specifically address the current labour market shortage, in which experts forecast that over 370,000 jobs are unfilled across Ontario.  

Eligible non-profit and for-profit businesses can now apply to receive funding for workforce development projects from the third round of the Skills Development Fund (SDF) which has an open intake from September 29, 2022, to January 31, 2023.

Ontario’s SDF supports innovative training projects that provide funding for employers and jobseekers to address job shortage problems in Ontario in hopes of building a stronger province following the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this new intake, the SDF hopes to prioritize projects that help Ukrainian newcomers, people with disabilities, people rejoining society from the criminal justice system, at-risk youth, Indigenous peoples, and others facing challenges of finding suitable opportunities.

About The Skills Development Fund (SDF) Open Intake

With an additional $90 million from this third round of funding, the Ontario government has invested over $560 million in total to eligible Canadian businesses for innovative workplace development projects via the Skills Development Fund (SDF).

The Skills Development Fund (SDF) seeks to invest in projects that will:

  • Address labour shortages and stimulate growth in key sectors of Ontario’s economy;
  • Increase Ontario’s long-term economic competitive advantage by creating a sustainable and resilient workforce; and
  • Help those facing barriers to employment such as people with disabilities, Ukrainian newcomers, people coming out of the criminal justice system, and at-risk youth.

“As we continue to combat the largest labour shortage in a generation, there are tens of thousands of people who need a hand up. I am calling on Ontario’s employers to help us deliver programs that lift people up and give them the tools they need to earn bigger paycheques and lead purpose-driven lives.”
– Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development

Funding Amount:

There is no maximum or minimum funding criteria for projects to be considered eligible when applying for the SDF. However, it is worth noting that:

  • Projects with budgets larger than $150,000 will be prioritized through a dedicated stream for larger capital projects; and
  • While it is not required, applicants are encouraged to seek additional sources of funding for their project expenses when applying for the SDF.

Eligible Applicants:

The following businesses are eligible to apply to the Skills Development Fund (SDF):

  • Employers with a presence in Ontario;
  • For-profit professional, industry, employer, or sector associations;
  • Non-profit organizations with a physical presence in Ontario, including Indigenous Band offices and Indigenous Skills and Employment Training agreement holders;
  • Apprenticeship training delivery agents (other than those listed below as being eligible to apply as co-applicants);
  • Trade unions or union affiliated organizations;
  • Municipalities, District Social Services Administration Boards, Consolidated Municipal Service Managers,  and hospitals; and
  • Publicly assisted colleges, universities or Indigenous Institutes in Ontario and/or private career colleges registered under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 are eligible to apply as co-applicants with one or more of the eligible organizations above.

Eligible Projects:

The Skills Development Fund (SDF) applications must demonstrate how projects would:

  • Empower workers and job seekers who face higher barriers of entry and help them find work;
  • Encourage partnerships across the economy and support innovative ideas and training solutions to address the labour shortage; and
  • Help create a resilient workforce by supporting access to the labour market.

Eligible Expenses:

Some examples of eligible expenses complimentary of the above eligible projects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Staffing, training, marketing, and mental health related costs;
  • Virtual employment and training services;
  • Apprenticeship training supports (virtual, in-class, equipment) and on-the-job support;
  • Research and development of new and innovative approaches to training (e.g., e-learning delivery, online assessment, virtual simulation, or other alternative methods to block release etc.);
  • Capital costs including new training equipment, vehicles, or mobile unit purchases that will be directly related to delivery of services;
  • Wrap around supports for job seekers and apprentices; and
  • Materials and consumables used in the delivery of project by participants.

Apply for Skills Development Fund (SDF) Project Funding

Please consider applying for SDF support early on as funds are limited to first-come, first-serve. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis during the intake period.

Non-profit and for-profit business interested in applying for Skills Development Fund (SDF) government funding can submit an application from September 29, 2022, to January 31, 2023.

Need help? Our Mentor Works team of professional government application writers can help determine the likelihood a project will be eligible for funding and assist your business with the application process.

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