The Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG) is an Ontario government funding program that offers training grants to employers. Through the program, companies may receive non-repayable funding from the government to purchase third-party business training programs, including training for in-demand skillsets. Training is expected to improve the employability and value employees can provide; including new hires in these training sessions can also maximize your funding potential.
COJG funding can reduce the cost of training employees by up to 50-83%. This can cover up to $10,000 to $15,000 in training costs per trainee.
To access workforce development funding through COJG, employers must operate in Ontario and have adequate insurance during the training program. Training programs should lead to benefits for trainees, such as an improvement to their role or wage, or lead to employment in the case of a new hire who needs training to contribute effectively. To get started with COJG Ontario training grants, employers must develop an application package that lists the training participants and provides quotes sourced from multiple training providers. Applicants should provide a rationale for why the training vendor was chosen and how the training will benefit employees.
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Program Overview: What are COJG Ontario Training Grants?
Provided by Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU), the Canada-Ontario Job Grant offers non-repayable grants to help employers provide high-quality employee training programs. It offsets training vendor costs to help employers hire top trainers and lead to lasting organizational improvements. For-profit and non-profit employers can use the program frequently to supplement their training budgets.
How much could your business receive from the Canada-Ontario Job Grant? There are three levels of funding contribution rates; how many employees the applicant company has, and whether new hires are included in the training factor into how much funding the training project is eligible for:
- 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.
The type of training purchased is up to the employer’s focus. Easily-transferable soft skills tend to have the greatest chances of being successful, but most training programs that have a direct benefit to trainees are considered. Benefits often include job title promotions, wage increases, and layoff avoidance (if applicable).
Consortium Training Programs
COJG funding also supports multiple employers that pool their training resources to offer group training. This is a popular option among industry associations and employer networks that represent multiple organizations within the same industry segment. Through COJG’s Consortium Training stream, employers can send groups of employees to receive training alongside employees from other participating organizations.
Consortium training typically provides a lower cost-per-employee compared to traditional training, but government training grants further improve the value it provides. COJG’s contribution rate in this case depends on the size of companies sending employees for training. If a large employer (100+ employees) is in the training group, the consortium may access up to 50% of eligible training expenses. If all employers have less than 100 employees, then the consortium will qualify for up to 83% of training costs.
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Applicant Eligibility Criteria
To qualify for the Canada-Ontario Job Grant, employers must be a:
- For-profit business;
- Non-profit organization;
- Employer consortium; or
- First Nations band council.
Furthermore, applicants must also:
- 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.
To participate in COJG-funded training programs, all trainees must:
- Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or protected person;
- Reside in Ontario and complete an Ontario-based training program;
- Receive sponsorship from an employer (whether currently employed or not); and
- Not be a participant in any other full-time training or educational programs.
Training Project Eligibility Criteria
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.
Some examples of eligible training programs include:
- Customer Service;
- Financial Planning;
- Food Safety;
- General Management;
- Lean Manufacturing Principles;
- Project Management;
- Strategic Planning;
- Software and Technology; and
- Sales and Marketing.
Programs Ineligible for COJG Funding for Training Employees
There are two general types of training initiatives not supported through COJG. These include:
- 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.
Expense Eligibility Criteria
COJG grants offset up to 50-83% of eligible expenses for business training programs. Ontario training grants will specifically cover the costs of:
- Third-party trainer fees;
- Tuition, student, and examination fees;
- Textbooks and course materials; and
- Training-related software.
Training project costs that can not be claimed for COJG funding include:
- In-house training programs; and
- Training programs performed outside of Ontario.
Success Stories: Previously Funded COJG Training Projects
Since 2014, the Canada-Ontario Job Grant has provided funding for training to businesses across the province. These investments have helped Ontario employers strengthen their workforce and improve company capabilities.
Some of the program’s recent funding success stories include:
- Technical Call Centre Receives +$330k in Business Funding to Develop Workforce: Funding for training helped this business access management and leadership training to improve cross-department communication and on-boarding strategies.
- Over $150k in Ontario Small Business Grants Awarded to La Rocca Creative Cakes: Ontario government training grants helped reduce the cost of implementing a new Enterprise Resource Planning system to access hard data and improve capacity planning.
- Foam Solutions Boosts Productivity with Canadian Government Grants: By offsetting workforce development costs, the company boosted productivity, increased cash flow, and upskilled its employees.
Additional Canada-Ontario Job Grant Resources
Looking for more details on the COJG training grants? Read our top blogs to further your understanding of the program:
- Canada-Ontario Job Grant FAQs: Discover the answers to some of COJG’s most frequently asked questions.
- COJG Consortium Training Update: Explore how employers can access the benefits of a large government-funded training program while only sending a few employees.
- COJG Training Grants 2018 Program Update: The COJG funding program announced major changes in early 2018. Learn more about how the program will support businesses.
How to Apply for the Canada-Ontario Job Grant
To develop a competitive application, Ontario employers must select a training program and source at least three quotes from eligible third-party training providers. Next, employers need to list the training participants and identify how training will impact their role within the company.
Application packages are accepted year-round, so employers should prepare to apply for funding in accordance with their expected training start date. COJG applications are typically reviewed within three to five weeks; employers must submit their forms no sooner than then to receive approval. Once approved, companies can start their training and receive reimbursement for training costs.
Where to Submit Applications
The number of applicants included in a training program dictates where employers must send their application. For training programs with 25 or fewer trainees, applications must be sent to a local “service provider” that assists the Government of Ontario with assessing the quality of applications. There are many service providers across Ontario and each maintains a pool of funding to provide for their region. Consortium training and programs where more than 25 trainees are involved are directly reviewed by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU).
How Applications are Assessed
Typically, all third-party training programs (aside from internal/product vendor training) are accepted if employers can demonstrate the training’s benefit through:
- Advancement of employee roles/job titles;
- Increased wages/salaries for trainees;
- New jobs created; and/or
- The avoidance of layoffs.
Discuss Your Upcoming Training Projects with a Government Funding Planner
Considering how COJG can support your upcoming training project? Contact Mentor Works to evaluate whether it’s a good fit. Our team can help you align your upcoming project for COJG funding and streamline the application process with time-saving info collection documents and a dedicated team of writers.
Posted: October 7, 2014. Updated: December 19, 2018.