January 11, 2016

The Honourable Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1A1

Dear Premier:

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.

Sincerely,

Reza Moridi signature

Reza Moridi
Minister

Results achieved

Mandate Letter Commitment Progress to Date
Work to help Ontario become North America’s leading jurisdiction for talent, skills and training.
  • Continued to help approximately one million people access employment and training programs through Employment Ontario, an integrated employment and training network.
  • Through the Apprenticeship Modernisation and Completion Strategy, encouraged more apprentices to complete their training by reaching out to them through their employers, offering essential skills training and providing exam prep help.
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.
  • Engaged the postsecondary education sector in an open and transparent consultation on reforming the university funding model to drive differentiation in the postsecondary sector, increase transparency and accountability, enhance quality for students and ensure long-term financial sustainability.
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.
  • Supported the Ministry of Education’s development of the Experience Ontario program to 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 extend the Youth Jobs Strategy. You will explore how best to support youth employment after the Youth Employment Fund ends.
  • In Budget 2015, announced a renewed Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy, with an additional $250 million over two years to support up to 150,000 clients.
  • Launched Youth Job Connection for youth with multiple barriers to employment, and continuing to work on design of Youth Job Link and Youth Job Connection Summer for all Ontario youth.
Working with the Ontario College of Trades to improve apprenticeship completion rates and enhance access to apprenticeship and the trades in Ontario.
  • Worked with other provinces and territories, the Ontario College of Trades and other stakeholders to implement an Apprentice Mobility Protocol by January 2016 to allow apprentices to move within Canada and have their training recognized.
  • Invested another $55 million in three apprenticeship programs to enhance access to training and prepare tomorrow’s skilled workers.
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.
  • Announced the new Youth Job Connection employment program on September 2, 2015.
  • Made additional investments to help colleges and universities provide accommodations to students with disabilities.
  • Released Achieving Results through Partnership: First Progress Report on Implementation of the Ontario Aboriginal Postsecondary Education and Training Policy Framework on June 25, 2015.
  • Announced $5 million to support the sustainability of nine Aboriginal Institutes.
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.
  • Updated Ontario Job Futures with new five-year job forecasts and made it a mobile-responsive website.
  • Piloted Local Employment Planning Councils to help meet Ontario’s need for credible and reliable labour market information at the local level.
  • Launched Centre for Workforce Innovation to provide leadership and support research in employment/training system.
  • Helped expand the Magnet job-matching service to more than 20 colleges and universities.
  • Improved online resources to help Ontarians search job prospects and connect with employers.
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.
  • In May 2015, announced support for a new York University - Markham Centre campus, in partnership with Seneca College, to support a high-quality and sustainable postsecondary education system.
  • In May 2015, announced a second call for proposals to be released Spring 2016, focusing primarily on demand in Peel/Halton region.
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.
  • In June 2015, released a third-party, evidence-based report confirming that Ontario has an appropriate credential mix to meet the needs of the labour market.
  • University key performance indicators published in 2015 include additional graduate outcomes such as full- and part-time employment rates and salaries.
  • College employment profile data is now in an online searchable database.
  • We are currently publishing the first year of Key Performance Indicator (KPI) results for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)-approved private career colleges (PCCs), for the 2013 graduates. KPIs will be published for all of Ontario’s PCCs in summer 2017.
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.
  • Engaged the postsecondary education sector in an open and transparent consultation on reforming the university funding model.
  • Report on the funding formula consultations from Executive Lead, Sue Herbert, was released publicly.
Building on the success of the 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant, continuing to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of student financial assistance.
  • Implemented various OSAP reforms in 2015–16, including ending the requirement to report a vehicle as an asset and indexing student loan limits and debt cap to inflation, launched the Ontario Student Loan Rehabilitation program to help defaulting borrowers return to good standing.
  • On September 1, 2015, announced that Ontario is making OSAP more user-friendly, flexible and transparent.
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.
  • Work on outcomes measures and related initiatives, such as expansion of the Ontario Education Number for use in postsecondary education (PSE), Key Performance Indicator enhancements, and results of the University Funding Formula Review will be incorporated into future policy decisions.
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.
  • Improved access to online learning through the new eCampus Ontario 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.
  • First phase of the web portal was launched this fall.
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.
  • Grew the number of pathways available to students through ONTransfer.ca, which now provides students with centralized access to almost 90,000 course equivalencies, 1,200 transfer pathways and other information.
  • Supported the fourth annual Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) Student Pathways in Higher Education Conference in April 2015, providing a forum for colleges and universities to share best practices.
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.
  • Continued to support the Council of Ontario Universities and the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations in developing a framework to allow pension plan conversions, which can improve sustainability and lower the financial impact on 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.
  • Starting in 2015–16, Ontario universities will be given the flexibility to use up to 25 per cent of their PhD spaces for domestic or international students who will pay domestic fees.
  • In winter 2016, the ministry will be consulting with colleges, universities and other stakeholders on developing a comprehensive postsecondary international education strategy. The Parliamentary Assistant will also lead some focused discussions with stakeholders.
Ensuring our employment and training system connects job seekers with employers and helps Ontarians find the jobs that are right for them.
  • Developed Local Employment Planning Council pilots, a new Ontario Centre for Workforce Innovation, and two new youth employment programs.
  • Held the first Ontario Symposium for French-Language Apprenticeship and Trades Programs.
  • Created and launched an innovative live chat function to connect and direct more job seekers to the Employment Ontario network.
Working collaboratively across government to strengthen relationships and improve the effectiveness and co-ordination of employment and training services.
  • Continuing to move forward on the transformation and integration of Ontario’s employment and training programs, which are currently spread across several Ontario government ministries through the Employment and Training Services Integration initiative.
  • The ministry continues to work closely with partner ministries to improve effectiveness and coordination for clients.
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.
  • To target resources where they are needed most, employment and training programs and services are being reviewed in keeping with the government’s annual planning process, which focuses on evidence-based programming.
  • Developed a comprehensive approach to measure and evaluate program outcomes for new initiatives under Employment and Training Services Integration.
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:
  • The new Youth Job Connection program, which helps at-risk youth with multiple barriers to employment.
  • A supported employment program model to help persons with complex barriers secure competitive and sustainable employment.
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.
  • Continued to engage Aboriginal partners on employment and training priority areas. A second phase of engagement with Aboriginal partners took place over September and October 2015.
  • Investing $9 million in the Aboriginal Skills Advancement Program training program to support jobs in First Nation communities near the Ring of Fire.
  • Sought input from school boards, colleges, universities and First Nation, Métis and Inuit partners to implement the ministry’s Multi-Year Aboriginal Action Plan.
Introducing a new, more consistent approach to assessing clients' unique barriers to employment and tracking clients' journeys through the system.
  • In spring 2015, initiated a competition to hire a consultant to undertake a research and feasibility report to help design and develop an Ontario-specific, employment-focused common client assessment tool.
Providing customized workplace training programs that will give individuals relevant work experience in high-demand occupations.
  • Recognizing there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to training, as part of the Canada Ontario Job Grant (COJG), Ontario launched two pilots in June 2015: COJG: Customized Training to support firm-specific skills training, and COJG: UpSkill to support sector-specific skills training.
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.
  • Administered the Ontario Bridging Participant Assistance Program to provide bursaries to internationally trained students in bridging programs. In 2014–15, over 1,300 bursaries were issued to students in 46 programs.
  • Supported the development of common literacy and numeracy assessment tools for French-language adult education and training and organized local community stakeholder meetings.
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.
  • Work underway to reconvene participants from Ontario’s first summit on Talent and Skills for a second meeting in January 2016.
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.
  • Implementing the Canada-Ontario Job Grant to help employers provide more than 39,000 training opportunities to more than 29,000 employees. Began a review of the Canada-Ontario Job Grant to ensure it is meeting the needs of employers and job seekers.
  • Ontario is assessing the implementation and results of the program and is working with the federal government and provinces and territories to submit a pan-Canadian report to the Forum of Labour Market Ministers in early 2016.
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.
  • Began leading constructive intergovernmental discussions on labour market issues in light of the new federal government’s funding commitments to ensure any new federal funding is implemented in a way that supports Ontario’s employment and training priorities.
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.
  • In October 2014, appointed Tony Dean for one year as reviewer on key areas of the Ontario College of Trades' mandate.
  • Completed consultations and accepted Tony Dean’s recommendations.
  • Developing implementation plan and legislative changes planned for spring session.
Measuring and reporting on results to ensure accountability and transparency across the employment and training system.
  • Collected performance data to ensure accountability and transparency across the province’s employment and training system.
  • The ministry requires service providers who deliver employment and training services to provide regular financial and service reports to the ministry.
Updated: June 01, 2021
Published: January 10, 2016