Manufacturing Skills Development Fund

Skills Development Fund: Apprenticeship and Workforce Development Grants

The Skills Development Fund (SDF) supports Ontario workforce development partners in the development and implementation of innovative projects that test new and emerging ideas and approaches to labour market challenges.

The second round of SDF funding is currently accepting new applications until March 31, 2022, on a first come first serve basis.

This program provides funding towards two types of projects: (1) Skilled Trades/Apprenticeship Training & (2) Workforce Development through Skills Training.

Skilled Trades/Apprenticeship Training projects must focus on solutions for closing the gap on high-demand jobs by using apprenticeships and hiring new employees with a focus on women, youth, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, newcomers, and veterans. The second type of eligible training, which is Workforce Development through Skills Training, must focus on developing new or existing skills within your workforce, including virtual training programs, textbook costs, and other training related expenses.

Snapshot: Skills Development Fund

Amount of Funding:

There are no maximum or minimum funding amounts or budgets for projects considered for the SDF program. However, projects with budgets great than $150,000 will be prioritized. Although it is not required, applicants are encouraged to seek alternative sources of funding towards their project expenses, in addition to SDF.

Program Focus:

  • Solution to channel jobseekers and workers at risk of layoff or displacement from occupations in hardest hit sectors by the pandemic, into occupations in high-growth sectors or sectors facing labour shortages;
  • Encourage innovative ideas and solutions to respond to labour market needs;
  • Enhance employer engagement in apprenticeship and workforce development;
  • Relieve pandemic induced labour and financial impacts on business and people;
  • Improve capacity to respond to shocks in the labour market; and
  • Supporting the labour market participation of all participants, with a particular focus on women, youth, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, newcomers and veterans.


  • Ontario non-profit and for-profit organizations, including industry associations and unions;
  • Training delivery agents (Colleges and Universities who are publicly assisted may only apply as a co-applicant with a group from another one of the eligible categories)
  • Municipalities;
  • Trade unions/union-affiliated organizations; and
  • Consortiums are also eligible.

Eligible Projects

Outlined training projects must respond to one or more of the following themes:

  • Skilled trades, other high-skilled, technical occupations, and other occupations in high demand (e.g., heavy-duty equipment mechanics, technology-related jobs, etc.);
  • Sectors experiencing labour market challenges, including those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., those experiencing high layoffs- Manufacturing/advanced manufacturing and In-demand health care occupations); and
  • The ministry has dedicated a priority funding pool for projects designed to primarily support people with disabilities.

Eligible Expenses:

  • Apprenticeship training supports (virtual, in-class, equipment) and on-the-job support for journeypersons;
  • Wrap around supports for job seekers and apprentices;
  • 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.);
  • Virtual employment and training services;
  • Capital costs including new training equipment, vehicle or mobile unit purchases that will be directly related to delivery of services;
  • Staffing, training, marketing, mental health related costs; and
  • Materials and consumables used in the delivery of project by participants.


Applications are being accepted for the second round of the Skills Development Fund program between September 29, 2021, to March 31, 2022. The amount of funding available in the 2021-22 fiscal year (ending March 31, 2022) to support the launch of Round 2 of the SDF is $83.3M. All eligible projects must be a minimum of 12 months in duration.

Apply for the Skills Development Fund

If your business has a project that may be eligible for funding through SDF, Mentor Works team of professional government application writers can help determine the likelihood a project is eligible for funding and assist you with the application process. Although the deadline for SDF is March 31, 2022, we strongly encourage you to reach out to the Mentor Works team for the best chance at funding approval.

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