22 May 2020 – Virtual Action Centre established for unemployed hospitality workers

Type of Intervention: Financial and Economic, New Tool / Service / Body
Sectors Involved: Finance/Economy, Private Sector and Businesses, Tourism
Level of Jurisdiction: Ontario
Lead People/Agency: Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. Guled Warsame, President of UNITE HERE Local 75

Overview: The Ontario government is investing in the Virtual Action Centre for hospitality workers impacted by COVID-19 and offering financial support for apprentices. The Virtual Action Centre is an online counselling and training portal aimed to support laid off and unemployed hospitality workers, offering opportunities to develop their skills and provide mental health-related supports. The government is investing nearly $2 million in partnership with UNITE HERE Local 75, a union that represents those working in restaurants, hotels, casinos, etc. Additionally, the government is investing in the Ontario Tools Grant, which provides funding to purchase tools, protective equipment, and other necessary goods for apprentices, along with forgiving previous loans. The Ontario Tools Grant is funded by $2.5 million in 2020-2021, with an additional $7.5 million in 2021-2022.
Full details here: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/05/ontario-helps-people-impacted-by-covid-19-get-back-to-work.html

Type of Justification: Providing support
Evidence/Justification: These investments are to provide support to workers suffering as a result of the pandemic. The main justification given for these investments is to provide more money to apprentices and support hospitality workers that have been laid off in attempts to help them recover and eventually rejoin the workforce effectively. The government explains that the Virtual Action Centre will help ensure support for workers as the province reopens and help bolster the tourism sector as tourism begins to restart in the province.