Ontario provides $581,400 to Centre for Workforce Development for online job fair platform


SUNDAY, MAY 2, 2021

BAY OF QUINTE – The Ontario government is supporting new research that will help employers locally and across Eastern Ontario access the skilled labour they require to contribute to the long-term success of the local economy and aid Ontario’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, announced that the Centre for Workforce Development (CFWD) will receive $581,400 from the Ontario Labour Market Partnerships (OLMP) program for its Virtual Research Platform Project.

“Matching skilled labour to meet the needs of local employers is critical to the growth and sustainability of our region’s economy as we emerge from COVID-19,” said Smith. “This research will help to develop digital resources that make that process easier for all involved, resulting in greater productivity.”

Brad Labadie, the Executive Director for the Belleville-based CFWD, explained many employers across the region are increasingly turning to digital recruitment, particularly in light of the pandemic, however there are numerous online platforms with different methods of interaction. The CFWD plans to develop a standardized job fair platform to be implemented and utilized by the Employment Ontario Service Provider Network that could attract domestic and international candidates.

“COVID-19 forced Employment Ontario Employment Service (EOES) providers to shift how they shared job opportunities with job seekers. Traditional job fairs were no longer an option, so they moved to hosting virtual ones. The pandemic saw the quick expansion of platforms which, in many cases, were found to be difficult to navigate, expensive to host, and provided a less-than-desirable user experience,” Labadie said. “This project will assist EOES providers in Eastern Ontario by providing a consistent, easy-to-use virtual platform for job fairs.”

The project is drawing support from employment service providers.

“In a time where technology is required more than ever to keep people connected, virtual job fair platforms can be an extremely valuable tool,” said Warren Gee, Loyalist College’s Bancroft Campus and Employment Ontario Programs Director. “This project can research the many options and identify effective, affordable, and user-friendly options for our communities.”

Katie Sexton, the Senior Director of Employment Services for the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region added “Virtual programs are numerous, expensive, and do not always provide a quality user experience. This project will help us provide a consistent, easy-to-use platform for both employers and job seekers, reducing frustration and providing better job fair co-ordination in our communities.”

The OLMP program funds ongoing research into regional economic needs and employment pressures, so municipalities and employment services and training providers have more information to conduct long-term planning.

“It’s essential that we help local workforces plan for the future,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “By supporting innovative research projects like this one in Eastern Ontario, we can create the right training programs so that workers have the skills they need to get in-demand jobs, now and in the future.”


  • In 2020-21, Ontario is investing $25.9 million into Labour Market Partnerships. There are currently 69 projects active across the province.
  • The Employment Ontario network includes more than 300 partner organizations across Ontario that offer a range of free services and supports that help businesses find workers and connect jobseekers to training and job opportunities. 
  • Recently, the Province also announced a $577,500 investment through the OLMP program for the Quinte Economic Development Commission to identify specific needs in the region’s manufacturing sector and assist with sector-based recruitment and retention activities.