Hot! Budget focuses on retraining – Ontario Budget – Budget focuses on retraining
March 25, 2008
Rob Ferguson, Queen’s Park Bureau

Laid-off workers in the hard-hit manufacturing sector will get more cash to help keep their families afloat if they go back to school to learn new skills under a “second career” strategy in this year’s Ontario budget.

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said some of the 20,000 people targeted by the plan could get as much as $30,000 to pay household bills and tuition, providing they go back to school for a two-year program.

The $355 million effort – touted by Premier Dalton McGuinty as a way for workers to get off the layoff treadmill and find enduring employment in growing industries – is part of a three-year, $1.5 billion “skills to jobs action plan” detailed in today’s budget.

The plan will also expand apprenticeship training, with 32,500 new trainees annually by 2011, and expand training centres to help workers find new jobs quickly when their plants or companies close.

“What we realized was, we didn’t have long-term retraining for that individual that wants to pick up a new trade that takes one or two years,” Duncan told a news conference, referring to the second careers program he said should be up and running by June 1 through existing employment counseling services.

“If a sole breadwinner wants to go back (to school), there will be additional help that isn’t available under existing programs.”

Workers laid off in the previous 12 months will be eligible but will have to go through a screening process that will measure their aptitude, goals and financial need – including the size of any severance payments they’ve received, officials said.

“It’s going to be about tailoring services to individuals,” said Duncan.

New figures from Statistics Canada show Ontario has lost more than 77,000 manufacturing jobs between 2001 and 2006, with many workers having trouble finding jobs that pay equivalent wages as manufacturing increasingly moves to lower-wage jurisdictions.

Opposition parties said the effort to help laid-off workers is like closing the barn after the horse has bolted.

Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory called for corporate tax cuts to attract manufacturers and NDP Leader Howard Hampton pushed for lower industrial hydro rates and a “buy Ontario” strategy to support provincial companies.

Premier Dalton McGuinty is “chasing jobs out of Ontario” with his government’s tax policies, Tory said.

“There is nothing here that will save the jobs that are disappearing at an alarming rate,” he told reporters.

With job losses in forestry and manufacturing pushing the lost job total closer to 200,000 in the last few years, Hampton said the effort to boost second careers is pathetic.

“Training for 20,000 when 200,000 have lost their jobs is pretty thin gruel,” he said. “Do they catch the next flight to Fort McMurray?”

1 Comment

  1. My wife complains that I snore too much. So after trynig the strips, the gel, the spray- I decided to spend the money on the snorclipse well I was disappointed to say the least first off, the product feel out of my nose the first nights sleep woke up and it was gone Found it the following night and placed it on again. setup my tape recorder (the wife gave this to me as a present to see what she listens too all night). Next morning, played back the tape, and sure enough there it was the snoring. Now I’ve been to a sleep doctor, and was told that I do not have sleep apnea. That I am slightly overweight for my height and age- and said that is the leading cause of snoring. well, I’m going to go try the mouth pieces that are being sold because my dad uses those and he doesn’t snore and he is much larger and louder than I could ever be so I guess I should have done that the first time One more thing if you sleep on your back, and your a person who opens their mouth at night, these things could fall off in your mouth and choke you before you knew it so FYI .

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