Mandate letter progress: Training, Colleges and Universities
The Minister’s response letter to Premier Wynne, outlining the results achieved on key mandate priorities in 2014-15.
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January 11, 2016
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building
In September 2014, you laid out an ambitious, four-year agenda for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, aimed at making Ontario North America’s leading jurisdiction for talent, skills and training. As minister, I am pleased to report that we have made great progress during our first year’s work addressing the priorities you identified in 2014, by:
Helping People Choose Their Path
- Supporting the Minister of Education in developing the Experience Ontario program, which will encourage graduating high school students to choose the appropriate postsecondary educational path for them, and help them succeed once they enrol.
- Working with the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure to renew Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy through a two-year investment of $250 million that will serve up to 150,000 clients.
- Investing an additional $55 million in three apprenticeship programs to enhance access to training and prepare the next generation of skilled tradespeople for careers in high-demand trades.
- Working strategically to improve access to timely and relevant labour market information to help governments, institutions, students and jobseekers make informed decisions about education, training and hiring. Early results include improved online resources to help Ontarians research job prospects and connect with employers.
Ensuring an Accessible, High-quality and Sustainable Postsecondary Education System
- Continuing to build a high-quality and sustainable postsecondary education system by balancing government stewardship with institutional leadership. In May, we announced our support for a new York University – Markham Centre campus, in partnership with Seneca College, following an open, competitive selection process.
- Conducting consultations as part of a review of Ontario’s university funding model. A re-designed funding model will help to enhance quality and outcomes for students, drive differentiation in the postsecondary sector, increase transparency and accountability, and promote long-term financial sustainability of institutions.
- Improving the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of our student financial assistance system by increasing asset and vehicle exemptions for students, setting a fixed student contribution, indexing student aid to inflation, and launching the Ontario Student Loan Rehabilitation Program to help defaulting borrowers return to good standing.
- Improving access to online learning through the new eCampus Ontario centre of excellence, governed by and for publicly assisted colleges and universities. In September 2015, eCampus Ontario launched a web portal with more than 13,000 online options, including 277 transferable online courses and 56 modules funded by Ontario, available to students in the 2015-16 school year.
- Continuing our work with the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer, enabling students to transfer their credits and move between postsecondary institutions, saving them, and their families, time and money.
- Collecting and publishing detailed information on graduate employment outcomes by posting Key Performance Indicators online, to help students make more informed choices.
- Starting in winter 2015-16, consulting with colleges, universities and other stakeholders on developing a comprehensive postsecondary international education strategy.
- Investing an additional $5 million in funding to support high-quality postsecondary education and training at Ontario’s nine Aboriginal Institutes. To support this work, the government is beginning discussions with First Nation, Métis, and Inuit partners and sector stakeholders on a policy for the institutes, to better define the distinct role they will play in the province’s postsecondary education and training landscape.
Building Ontario’s Integrated Employment and Training System
- Continuing to modernize and transform Ontario’s employment and training programs and services through a process called Employment and Training Services Integration (ETSI). We have concluded the first phase of engagement with stakeholders, including Aboriginal partners, to inform this work.
- Investing $9 million in the Aboriginal Skills Advancement Program training program, to support jobs and improve the quality of life for First Nations communities near the Ring of Fire.
- Launching the new Youth Job Connection program to provide intensive support and training to young people facing multiple barriers to employment and designing the new Youth Job Link and Youth Job Connection Summer programs to help all Ontario young people access employment opportunities.
- Piloting Local Employment Planning Councils, in eight Ontario communities, that will bring together employers, governments, employment service providers, trainers and others to meet local labour market needs.
- Implementing the Canada-Ontario Job Grant, helping employers provide more than 39,000 training opportunities to more than 29,000 employees in Ontario.
- Appointing former secretary of cabinet Tony Dean to review key areas of Ontario’s skilled trades system within the mandate of the Ontario College of Trades. Ontario will bring forward proposed legislative changes in the spring legislative session and will work closely with the College of Trades to implement Mr. Dean’s recommendations.
- Launching the new Ontario Centre for Workforce Innovation to provide leadership and support research and innovation in our employment and training system.
- Working collaboratively with the federal government to improve labour market opportunities for Ontarians.
This summary highlights progress on some of our key priorities. I look forward to continuing our work together, building a better future for the people of Ontario.
|Mandate Letter Commitment||Progress to Date|
|Work to help Ontario become North America’s leading jurisdiction for talent, skills and training.||
|Collaborate with colleges, universities, municipalities, training organizations, community organizations, employers, students — and across government to help Ontario develop a modern, forward-looking postsecondary education sector.||
|Supporting Experience Ontario, a new program to give recent high school graduates valuable work experience. I ask that you lead the implementation of this program, working closely with the Minister of Education.||
|Working with the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure to extend the Youth Jobs Strategy. You will explore how best to support youth employment after the Youth Employment Fund ends.||
|Working with the Ontario College of Trades to improve apprenticeship completion rates and enhance access to apprenticeship and the trades in Ontario.||
|Continuing to recognize and meet the needs of diverse groups of learners, including Franco-Ontarians, Aboriginal Peoples, first-generation students, persons with disabilities and students with special needs through an equitable system of supports. I ask that you give Ontarians the support they need to be successful in our economy, including help as they transition from high school to postsecondary education and the workplace.||
|Leading work to ensure that timely and relevant labour market information is available to support government, institutions, students, families and employers as they make important decisions about education, training and hiring.||
|Balancing government stewardship of postsecondary education with institutional leadership. Your goal is to continue to build a postsecondary education system that is both high-quality and sustainable. I ask that you strengthen transparency and accountability between the government, institutions and the public.||
|Focusing on key outcomes for students, institutions and the economy. You will work with our sector partners — including colleges, universities and employers — to assess key outcomes, including the labour market readiness and success of graduates. I ask that you recognize the unique roles that Ontario’s colleges, universities and private career colleges play in fostering our province’s diverse talent and future prosperity.||
|Working with postsecondary institutions and the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario to improve the consistency and availability of institution-level and system-level outcome measures. These measures will help inform the allocation of graduate spaces, updated program approval processes and the implementation of a reformed funding model for universities. Your goal is to drive differentiation in the postsecondary education sector and to uphold the government’s commitment to accountability and transparency.||
|Building on the success of the 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant, continuing to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of student financial assistance.||
|Considering the new outcome measures and ongoing initiatives when developing the next tuition framework and the next round of Strategic Mandate Agreements, to be implemented for 2017-18.||
|Ensuring that the new Ontario Online initiative is able to offer online courses for credit, beginning in 2015. Your goal is to improve system quality and increase options for students.||
|Continuing work with the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer to enhance student pathways and reduce barriers for students who want to transfer among Ontario’s 44 publicly funded postsecondary institutions.||
|Working with the Minister of Finance and our partners in the university sector to improve the sustainability of university pension plans to support greater sustainability in universities.||
|Working with institutions to bring focus to efforts to attract international students to Ontario and to institutions' internationally offered programs. I ask that you strike a balance between the benefits and challenges associated with these new forms of partnerships.||
|Ensuring our employment and training system connects job seekers with employers and helps Ontarians find the jobs that are right for them.||
|Working collaboratively across government to strengthen relationships and improve the effectiveness and co-ordination of employment and training services.||
|Working with ministers and President of the Treasury Board to determine how best to reallocate funding from the least effective employment and training programs to the most effective. You will ensure that programs are providing the best results for clients and are meeting the needs of Ontario’s labour market.||
|Collaborating with the Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy and other relevant ministers to focus resources on those who need them most — including persons receiving social assistance, persons with disabilities, the long-term unemployed, Aboriginal Peoples, newcomers and at-risk youth — as part of the government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. You will continue to engage a broad range of stakeholders and partners, including municipalities and service delivery agents, throughout this work.||Through Employment and Training Services Integration, and in support of the Poverty Reduction Strategy, worked to better serve vulnerable clients through:
|Continuing to work in partnership with Aboriginal communities on the development of flexible policies, programs and services that respect and respond to the diversity within Aboriginal communities.||
|Introducing a new, more consistent approach to assessing clients' unique barriers to employment and tracking clients' journeys through the system.||
|Providing customized workplace training programs that will give individuals relevant work experience in high-demand occupations.||
|Working with the ministers of Education and of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade to ensure that, where appropriate, people are referred to bridge training, language instruction and other forms of adult education — and can transition between adult education and the integrated employment and training system.||
|Building on the momentum of Ontario’s first summit on Talent and Skills in the New Economy. You will regularly convene representatives from the business, labour and academic communities to build partnerships and foster collaboration. I ask that you convene the next summit in early 2015.||
|Implementing and monitoring the effectiveness of a new Canada-Ontario Job Grant. The grant is an employer-driven approach to help Ontarians gain the skills and training they need to fill available jobs.||
|Continuing to work with the federal government on the future of federal support for skills training. You will seek fair federal policies in areas such as the Canada-Ontario Labour Market Development Agreement. You will also preserve Ontario’s ability to improve employment and skills training programs to meet the needs of unemployed Ontarians and employers.||
|Continuing to support the success of the College of Trades. You will ensure the appointment of a Special Advisor to review the college’s application process and scope of practice of trades — including how this scope relates to enforcement.||
|Measuring and reporting on results to ensure accountability and transparency across the employment and training system.||