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 yet do not have the financial capability to pay for training. 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 announcement of expanding the Second Career program eligibility, more Ontarians can now move a step closer to their dream job. The Ontario Second Career program now accommodates unemployed individuals with little to no work experience. Eligible persons now include gig workers, newcomers, youth, social assistance recipients, and self-employed individuals.

woman taking a big leap
Second Career funding in Ontario can help you take that big leap towards your dream job.

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 percent 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.

graduation caps and diplomas
With a wide range of Second Career options in Ontario, you can pursue the program that will help you reach your career goals.

The Ontario government plans to invest $5 million more to the existing $82.4 million Second Career government funding. 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 with Ontario Second Career?

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
  • student fees
  • school supplies
  • electronic devices
people discussing in a classroom
The government has now expanded the list of who qualifies for Second Career funding in Ontario.

You may also get additional funding for:

  • disability-related supports
  • childcare
  • accommodations near your training facility (if you live away from home)
  • language training and/or Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS)

The Ontario Jobs Training Tax, which is expected to take effect in 2022, can pay for a maximum of 50% of your qualified training costs or up to $28,000.

Who is Eligible for Second Career Ontario?

The Ontario government identifies who qualifies for Second Career Ontario. Based on their more detailed Second Career eligibility checklist, those who qualify are:

  • unemployed
  • underemployed
  • self-employed
  • new to Canada
  • on social assistance
  • a resident of Ontario
  • a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or a holder of the 900-series Social Insurance Number (SIN)

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
filling out an application form
Ensure you have met all the requirements stated in your Second Career application checklist.

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
  • industry and position/s you are interested in

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

  • your gross household income
  • the costs that must be shouldered during your schooling such as tuition, books, and other training-related expenses – Add these pieces of information for at least three schools of your choice including:
    • one college of applied arts and technology
    • one private career college

You just need to submit one educational institution if you either:

  • pay for your training costs
  • submit a fast-track application

It is free to register for the Second Career program in Ontario.

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.

Take note that you cannot begin your classes before your application’s approval. Otherwise, you will be disqualified from the Ontario Second Career grant.

man looking at a pile of books using a telescope
Check out the Second Career course list to identify which one fits you based on your career goals.

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 Second Career 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.

Other Government Grants for Second Career

If you don’t qualify for Second Career because your program does not meet the fast-track requirements or the 52-week maximum duration, you can consider other Ontario Programs such as:

  • Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)
  • Ontario Student Scholarships
  • Ontario Student Bursaries