Minister Greg Rickford announces Job Skills Training Opportunities


THUNDER BAY –  Premier Doug Ford’s “Minister of Everything” Greg Rickford was in Thunder Bay this week for two days of work and announcements. Starting at Lakehead University with a science and technology announcement Rickford was also in the city to announce job training and skills advancement opportunities, and wrapping up the week with an announcement of changes in nursing at Confederation College.

On Thursday, on Fort William First Nation the Minister was pleased to share how important he feels the partnership between the six First Nation communities and Ontario is addressing a looming skilled trades shortage by investing in training for Indigenous people in the Thunder Bay area. The Province announced funding of nearly $2 million this week for two separate projects.

Today, on behalf of Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour Training and Skills Development, Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Indigenous Affairs, was at the Anishinabek Employment and Training Service Centre (AETS) to announce Ontario is investing nearly $500,000 in two pre-apprenticeship training projects for 35 Indigenous people. The funding will allow participants to get their start in high-demand trades such as carpentry, welding, and drywall, acoustic and lathing application.

Rickford also announced an additional investment of $250,000 for AETS through the Indigenous Economic Development Fund. This application-based funding will go towards preparing participants for apprenticeship opportunities in the construction and carpentry sectors. This includes job readiness training, level one construction/carpentry training and an eight-week placement.

“Our government knows employers are looking for people ready to help fill vacancies in the Thunder Bay area,” said MPP Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Indigenous Affairs. “By funding projects like this, we’re giving people in this community the chance to put their skills to work in good, permanent jobs.”

“These apprenticeship training opportunities along with our partnerships, will provide First Nation citizens with the stepping stones to build skills and gain knowledge needed to realize their career goals,” said John DeGiacomo, Executive Director of AETS.

Pre-apprenticeship training promotes careers in the trades for all Ontario residents. These programs are free, last up to one year and often combine classroom training with an eight to 12-week work placement.

Also on Thursday, Minister Rickford was at Supercom Industries to announce the province is investing close to $1.5 million through SkillsAdvance Ontario over the next three years. This funding will go towards training and upskilling 172 new and current Indigenous employees in heavy equipment operation, mechanical harvesting, AZ truck driving, tower assembly and construction.

Supercom Industries is partnering with NextBridge Infrastructure to build and maintain the 450-kilometer East-West Tie Transmission Line being built outside of Thunder Bay. The Province’s funding will help the six First Nations and the communities around the East-West Tie Line build a skilled labour force for this and future energy projects.

“The East West Tie continues to bring economic and training opportunities to Thunder Bay and the surrounding region,” said Rickford. “I am proud to announce Ontario’s support for Supercom and commend the hard work and dedication of all involved to get this project up and running, while seeing hundreds of local residents receive valuable skills training and education.”

“This SkillsAdvance Ontario project will offer multiple training opportunities to job seekers, and re-skilling chances to the incumbent workers, consequently changing their and their families’ lives, and overall positively impacting the economy and communities’ well-being in Northern Ontario,” said Cris Serban, President and CEO of Supercom Industries.

“These projects are designed to help both businesses and job seekers in a region,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “When you tailor a training curriculum around the needs of local employers and offer effective employment supports for the participating trainees, you can achieve outcomes that make a difference.”


▪ Supercom Industries Limited is a partnership between Fort William, Red Rock, Pays Plat, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, Pic Mobert, and Michipicoten First Nations and Thunder Bay-based coalition Nextbridge Infrastructure (NextEra Energy Canada, Enbridge and OMERS Infrastructure).

▪ About one in five new jobs in Ontario over the next five years is expected to be in trades-related occupations.

▪ There are currently 28 active SkillsAdvance Ontario projects across the province, dedicated to sector-specific training for jobs in steel and aluminum, manufacturing, logistics, tourism and hospitality, forestry and other sectors.

▪ The government is investing $20.8 million this year into the pre-apprenticeship program to create training opportunities for more than 1,800 people in the skilled trades. The program is delivered by Ontario colleges, private career colleges, union and non-union training centres and other community organizations. To find out about pre-apprenticeship training programs, contact Employment Ontario by phone, e-mail or live chat.

▪ On May 29, 2019, Ontario passed the Modernizing the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2019 to help transform the skilled trades and apprenticeship system, reduce red tape and make Ontario open for business and open for jobs.

▪ Job seekers can visit to get training, build their skills and access career information.

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