As a Workforce Development Board, we have learned through our engagement with employers that diverse workforces and employees have unique challenges and needs when it comes to the employment market. As a result, we would like to highlight some of the work that upper levels of government and community organizations have been doing to support accessibility and inclusivity within the employment and business sectors.
- In early September 2020, the Government of Canada announced new programs to assist Black entrepreneurs and business owners through the COVID-19 pandemic recovery. This announcement included up to $221 million in partnership with Canadian financial institutions – including up to $93 million from the Government of Canada over the next four years – to launch Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program. Learn more about the program here.
- The province’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, was announced publicly in late September 2020 with the goal to increase capacity in the health care system and address the workforce development deficiencies that have been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Totalling more than $28 billion dollars, this financial investment is a significant investment in Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and nurses across the province. The funding investments include: $18 million for Ontario’s Nursing Graduate Guarantee program, which provides full-time salary and benefits for over 600 new nursing graduates; up to $8 million to add over 800 nurses to the health system in areas of need across the province; and $10.3 million into the new Personal Support Worker Return of Service Program, to recruit and retain 2,000 recently graduated personal support workers (PSW) to work in long-term care facilities and in the home and community care sectors. Learn more about the new funding initiatives here.
- The Government of Ontario is also supporting personal support workers (PSWs) and direct support workers in the home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors by investing $461 million to temporarily enhance wages. Learn more about this announcement here.