Get skills training and financial support when you qualify for Better Jobs Ontario (formerly Second Career)?
People facing challenges finding a stable job
Effective April 29, 2022, we expanded the program to better help people who may face challenges finding stable jobs such as gig workers, youth and people on social assistance. If you have been unemployed for six months or longer, and are part of a low-income household, you may benefit from these changes. To better reflect the expansion of the program, we renamed the program Better Jobs Ontario.
To learn more about Better Jobs Ontario, read the information on this webpage and contact an employment service provider in your area.
Better Jobs Ontario provides eligible applicants with:
- skills training for in-demand jobs
- financial support
You can apply for up to $28,000 for costs, including:
- other instructional costs, including student fees, supplies and electronic devices
- basic living allowance (up to $500 per week)
Additional funding may be available for:
- disability-related supports
- living away from home
- Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) and/or language training
Length of training programs
Better Jobs Ontario aims to help you rejoin the workforce quickly. That’s why the program focuses on training programs that take 52 weeks or less to complete, including micro-credential programs.
If you want to attend training longer than one year, you can apply to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) for a mix of grants and loans to help you pay for your postsecondary education.
You qualify for Better Jobs Ontario if you either:
- have been laid-off and have not been working or are working a temporary job just to cover costs
- have not been laid-off but have been unemployed for six months or longer and are part of a low-income household
You can still apply if you receive either:
- Employment Insurance (EI)
- Ontario Works (OW)
- Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
Laid-off due to COVID-19
While the Better Jobs Ontario program is open to unemployed jobseekers, a fast-track stream is available if you were laid-off because of COVID-19 and want to retrain for jobs in sectors that have potential for future employment.
If your application meets all the following criteria, you will go through a faster approval process, giving you access to training sooner:
- You were laid-off on or after March 1, 2020.
- You have a high school education or less, you were laid-off from an occupation requiring no more than a high school education and job-specific training, such as food and beverage servers, flight attendants and retail salespersons.
- You were laid-off from an industry hit hard by the pandemic, such as hospitality and food services, transportation and warehousing or wholesale and retail trade.
- You want to train for a career in demand in a local community or provincial priority area.
Apply to Better Jobs Ontario
To apply to Better Jobs Ontario, you’ll work with an Employment Ontario agency where staff are trained to:
- help you decide if this program is right for you
- help you to complete your application
Find an agency in your community and make an appointment.
Staff at the agency will help you gather the information needed to support your application to Better Jobs Ontario.
Preparing your application
When preparing your application, you will have to show:
- how long you have been unemployed, or working your temporary job, and looking for work
- places you have applied and positions you have applied for (for example, cover letters, CVs or resumes, and responses from potential employers)
- level of education obtained
- previous employment, how long you worked there, and skills that were required
- what skills you want to obtain and where you can get trained in them
The amount of support you will receive is based on individual needs and available funding.
When you apply to Better Jobs Ontario, you must provide information to support a financial needs assessment, such as:
- some of the costs to be covered during training
- your gross (before tax) household income
Meet with a counsellor
You can also request an appointment with an Employment Ontario counsellor.
An employment counsellor can:
- help you find an Employment Ontario agency in your community
- answer any questions you may have about Better Jobs Ontario
Speak with an employment counsellor in:
You must provide information about your household income (including the income of your spouse/partner).
You must research at least three training institutions to make sure they offer the training you need. Make sure to include at least:
- one college of applied arts and technology
- one private career college
You are only required to research one training institution if you either:
- pay for your tuition and training costs on your own
- apply through the fast-track process
Find a college of applied arts or technology or private career college near you.