Second Career in Ontario

What is Second Career Funding?

The Second Career grant provides financial aid to Ontarians who want to be trained for high-skill, high-demand jobs. Recipients can get up to $28,000 to cover programs of up to 52 weeks.

Second Career courses include eligible college and some university courses, vocational training programs, and micro-credential programs.

What is New with Second Career in Ontario?

With Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s recent announcement of expanding the Second Career program eligibility, more Ontarians can now move a step closer to their dream job. Starting in Spring 2022, the Ontario Second Career program will accommodate unemployed individuals with little to no work experience. Eligible persons now include gig workers, newcomers, youth, social assistance recipients, and self-employed individuals.

According to Ford, the expansion guarantees that more Ontarians can learn the knowledge and skills they need to obtain an in-demand job and break through the employment obstacles aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, mentioned that Ontario has been experiencing the biggest labour shortage in a generation due to the pandemic. This tends the government to invest in programs that will lead more people to better careers, financial freedom, and enhanced lives.

The number of Second Career funding recipients have risen by 71 per cent since Ontario’s Second Career program has been revamped to prioritize the laid-off workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on this outcome, Ontario expects the new changes in the Second Career criteria to address labourer shortages — local businesses can search for the skilled workers they need while the unemployed or underemployed can get the job of their dreams.

The Ontario government plans to invest $5 million more to the existing $82.4 million Second Career government funding for 2021-22. Such an investment in skills training can attract more opportunities and investments in Ontario, improving the overall employment outlook in the province.

What Can You Get?

You can receive the training, knowledge, and skills that will help you get one of today’s in-demand jobs.

You will also get financial support to pay for:

  • tuition
  • books, manuals, and other educational costs
  • transportation
  • essential living costs of up to $500 per week

You may also get additional funding for:

  • disability-related supports
  • childcare
  • accommodations near your training facility

Who Qualifies for Second Career in Ontario?

By Spring 2022, the Ontario government will release a more detailed Second Career eligibility checklist. Based on the recent announcement, the eligibility list is expected to include people who are:

  • unemployed
  • underemployed
  • self-employed
  • new to Canada
  • on social assistance

How to Apply for Second Career in Ontario

Fill out the Second Career application form on the right side of this page to apply for Second Career online now. Once we receive your information, an Education Consultant will contact you to:

  • thoroughly explain to you the Second Career guidelines
  • help you identify programs that may fit you well based on your previous work experience and future career aspirations
  • refer you to Employment Ontario for a Second Career information session if you choose to attend one

When you apply, you should include the following information:

  • how long you have been unemployed or underemployed
  • how long you have been applying for jobs
  • your highest level of educational attainment
  • positions and companies you have applied to
  • skills you want to retrain for
  • where you plan to get your training
  • your employment history, length of employment, and skills you needed to have for that/those job/s

You should also submit supporting documents for your needs assessment such as:

  • the costs that must be shouldered during your schooling
  • your gross household income

Second Career Application Process Time

The application process involves two parts:

  • the financial aid application
  • the college program application

Research well and plan in advance as the whole process may last for 2 to 4 months. The review of your application by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development alone usually takes at least 3 weeks. Processing times may differ depending on how fast you can submit the necessary documents and how complete is document is.

Second Career Program List

Knowing your Second Career options can help you make better, well-informed decisions.

Funding for programs in high-demand fields will be given priority and will entail a faster approval. You can choose from four priority streams with several programs that may qualify for expedited processing. Hence, you would be able to immediately start your training, bringing you a step closer to your ideal job.

To view the Second Career Program List, go to our Fast-Track Programs page.

Do You Have to Pay Back Second Career?

It is a financial needs-based, cost-sharing program, so you may have to pay a portion of the educational costs. The amount you get may also depend on the budget available.

To get more information about Second Career in Ontario, please complete the Request Info form on this page.