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Ontario Investing in Construction Sector to Combat Labour Shortage

New $3.7 million investment in Merit Ontario will prepare over 2,000 workers and jobseekers for well-paying jobs in their communities

October 06, 2022
Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development






OAKVILLE — The Ontario government is working for workers by investing $3.7 million to help up to 2,500 workers start or advance in well-paying careers in the construction industry. This decade, Ontario will need 100,000 more construction workers to help deliver the province’s ambitious infrastructure plans, including 1.5 million homes by 2031.

“Construction workers are heroes who keep our province running by building the roads, hospitals, homes, and schools that we rely on every day,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “With billions of dollars in infrastructure investments on the horizon, we need all hands on deck to get the job done. Our government will continue to invest in programs that ease labour shortages and give workers the tools to earn bigger paycheques for themselves and their families.”

This investment will help Merit Ontario, an organization that supports contractors who employ both unionized and non-unionized workers, to expand their online job bank to match thousands of people with construction jobs at more than 300 small, medium and large employers in their communities. The job bank helps jobseekers assess their skills, access additional training, and prepare for interviews. Furthermore, this funding continues to support Merit’s online training centre which is helping up to 2,500 construction workers train for the next step in their careers and earn more take-home pay.

“The Government of Ontario’s continued investment in Construction Ontario helps small and medium-sized construction employers and their employees access high-quality, engaging and accessible training to help them improve their productivity and enhance health and safety in the workplace,” said Mike Gallardo, President and CEO of Merit Ontario. “We thank the Government of Ontario and Minister McNaughton for their continued commitment to ensuring workers across the province have access to training no matter where they live.”

This project is funded by Ontario’s Skills Development Fund, a $560 million initiative that supports innovative programs that connect job seekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying careers close to home. The third round of funding launched last week, prioritizes projects that support people with criminal records and those on social assistance.






Quick Facts

  • Ontario is facing increasing labour shortages with over 360,000 jobs going unfilled, costing billions in lost productivity.
  • The project runs until March 30, 2023. Interested construction employers, apprenticeship sponsors and apprentices from across Ontario can apply for the program at
  • Jobseekers can access the online job bank at In 2021, the average hourly wage in Ontario was $36 for industrial electricians, $32 for bricklayers, and $26 for welders.
  • Data suggests that the need to replace retiring workers is elevated in the skilled trades. In 2016, nearly one in three people in Ontario with trades certificates were aged 55 years or older.
  • Ontario’s construction sector had 28,360 jobs waiting to be filled in the second quarter of 2022, up from 20,895 in the second quarter of 2021.
  • Ontario’s Skills Development Fund is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.







"Spark has put into place several foundational programs that are benefiting our employees greatly. From starting out in their career to progressing through the career ladder, we have skills development at all levels, and it's because of the foundations we've built with learning management platform’s subject matter expert technical training and fantastic senior leadership supporting all of it."

- Emma Garrod
Talent Development Manager, Spark Power






Additional Resources






Media Contacts

Harry Godfrey
Minister's Office

Anu Dhar
Communications Branch

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