On November 8, 2021, the Province of Manitoba announced that it will launch a workforce skills development grant program in partnership with Economic Development Winnipeg and the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.
The program aims to reimburse employers who have invested or will need to invest in retraining and upskilling their employees as part of their economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This blog sets out a summary of the general components and eligibility requirements of the Retrain Manitoba program.
Retrain Manitoba Grant Program
The program serves to reimburse eligible employers who have paid for courses that start during the period of April 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022, thereby providing for some retroactive reimbursement. Eligible employers can receive up to $2,500 per employee up to a maximum of $75,000.
Eligible employers can access funding over time through several applications to cover multiple courses taken by one or more employees.
Employers should be mindful that this program does not provide cash advances. At the time of application, employers must upload proof of course registration and payment receipt.
Eligible Courses, Costs and Training
The grant covers fees associated with certain courses, tuition, external training providers, mandatory participation and course examinations.
Eligible courses are industry-recognized and deemed necessary by an employer to ensure workforce success. They can be held in person or online and must be provided by a third-party trainer from either inside or outside Manitoba.
The following costs are not covered by the grant:
- employee participants’ wages;
- travel expenses incurred by employees attending training; and
- expenses related to training offered internally by a company employee.
Eligible employers include active and registered businesses, not-for-profit organizations and charities based in Manitoba, regardless of the size of the employer. They must also meet the following criteria:
- have a valid business number;
- be in good standing with the Manitoba Companies Office;
- hold a business account with a Canadian financial institution (the account name must be associated with the Manitoba business number); and
- have an active e-mail address and phone number.
Employers are not eligible if they:
- do not have a valid and active Manitoba business number;
- are not in good standing or registered with the Manitoba Companies Office;
- were in arrears for taxes owing on March 20, 2020 that have not been rectified or addressed via deferred tax remittances; or
- receive more than 50% of their funding from the Province of Manitoba or have government-appointed boards.
Eligible training participants include employees who live and work in Manitoba and are legally entitled to work in Canada, regardless of employment status (e.g., part-time, contract or temporary).
Eligible employers can apply to the program online until March 31, 2022, or until the $12.5 million grant has been allocated. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and Economic Development Winnipeg will process reimbursement funds on a weekly basis. As such, employers should inquire about the program and apply as soon as possible. Further information on the program can be located here.
By applying, employers agree to the terms and conditions of the program and to undergo a further review of their application.
MLT Aikins will continue to monitor the Manitoba Retrain program. Employers interested in learning more about how the program could impact their business and any associated considerations should contact a member of our labour and employment team in Winnipeg.
Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.