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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Helping More Women Build Skills and Get Jobs

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

BURLINGTON – The Ontario government is launching a call for applications and investing $5.5 million, including an additional $496,000 this year, in the Women’s Economic Security Program to expand and increase training opportunities for low-income women to equip them with the skills, knowledge and experience to find a job or start a business and increase their financial security.

“The Women’s Economic Security Program is empowering women with the skills they need to join the workforce and help build Ontario together,” said Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity. “We know that supporting more women in the workforce benefits Ontario’s economy, especially in in-demand sectors such as the skilled trades. These careers are exciting, provide good pay and benefits, and will empower women and girls across the province to succeed.”

The Women’s Economic Security Program offers training in four streams: the skilled trades, entrepreneurship, information technology and general employment. To help remove barriers to participating, the training programs also include additional supports such as providing meals throughout the training day, transportation to and from training, and support in finding child care.

Through the program, women, including those who have experienced or are at risk of intimate partner violence, can also access wraparound supports, including referrals to mental health and well-being supports, counselling, housing, and legal support.

Women interested in the program can visit The call for applications for eligible service providers looking to deliver the program is also now open. The deadline to apply is January 26, 2024, and information about the program and the application process is available at

Investing in the Women’s Economic Security Program is one more way Ontario is removing barriers so more women can excel as entrepreneurs, in leadership roles, and in jobs where they are underrepresented like the skilled trades. In addition to $5 million invested in this program, Ontario is providing another $496,000 for projects this fiscal year. The additional funding is provided through the bilateral agreement on the National Action Plan to End Gender-based Violence in Ontario with the federal government.

Quick Facts

  • Organizations funded under the Women’s Economic Security Program deliver employment, pre-employment, pre-apprenticeship, and entrepreneurship training to low-income women.

  • Since its inception in 2018, the Women’s Economic Security Program has helped more than 2,100 women secure employment, become entrepreneurs or pursue further training and/or education. This includes helping 1,298 women start small businesses and 237 get jobs in the skilled trades.


"Under the Women's Economic Security Program, Centre for Skills Development has been fortunate to provide our Enhanced General Carpentry Program to women for over 20 years and has seen great success with over 300 participants securing sustainable, financially rewarding, and meaningful employment in the construction sector. Our 22-week program is designed to prepare participants to work in a variety of skilled trades within the construction industry, from residential builds to high-end renovations. We provide wrap around supports and comprehensive skills training that equips women with the skills, knowledge and experience to find a job, or start a small business, in the construction sector."

- Lisa Rizzato

CEO, Centre for Skills Development

"Ontario is taking action to end gender-based violence by supporting survivors and their families on their journey to recovery. One of our focus areas is helping women build economic stability and achieve financial independence. Through our collaborative efforts, we are building a province that promotes safety and fosters opportunities for women and girls."

- Michael Parsa

Minister of Children, Community and Social Services

"Ontario is facing the largest labour shortage in a generation, and with thousands of jobs going unfilled in the skilled trades, information technology, and other critical industries, we need all hands on deck. That’s why Minister Williams and our government will continue investing in programs that continue breaking down barriers for women and give them the tools they need to earn bigger paycheques for themselves and their families."

- David Piccini

Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development

"Our government has always been a champion of entrepreneurs and small businesses in our province. The Women’s Economic Security Program is another example of how we are fostering entrepreneurship. Supporting more women to become business owners helps them achieve success, and it’s good for Ontario’s economy."

- Nina Tangri

Associate Minister of Small Business

"When women have equal opportunities in the workforce, economies thrive, but they cannot get there if they are not safe. With investments from the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, I’m proud that our government is working with the Government of Ontario improve women’s economic security. This is about empowering more women to reach their full potential in all spheres of society, while also building the strong and inclusive workforce Canada needs to grow and thrive."

- Marci Ien

Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

Additional Resources

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