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Backgrounder

Preparing for high school graduates in 2003

June 2000

In 2003, Ontario will have more than its usual number of high school graduates. 

The first students to complete Ontario's new four-year high school program will graduate in the spring 2003 - at the same time as the last students to complete Ontario's old five-year program. 

The Ontario government is prepared for this increase in graduates. It has taken steps to ensure that: 

  • every qualified and motivated student will have a place in Ontario's postsecondary education system
  • training and apprenticeship programs will be expanded for students who want to head directly to the workplace once they graduate from high school.

Specifically, the government: 

  • has invested more than $4 billion in postsecondary education in 1999/2000 -- the highest level ever. 
  • in 2000/2001, has added $68 million in base operating funding to colleges and universities to help them accommodate more students and to improve the quality of programs. 
  • has added a further $286 million of SuperBuild investments to expand and renew Ontario colleges and universities. The government's total capital investment of $1billion combined with the contributions of partners, means a total of $1.8 billion is being invested to create more than 73,000 new student spaces in Ontario's colleges and universities. 
  • has already begun to expand spaces at colleges and universities through the Access to Opportunities Program, a $228-million investment that will create 23,000 new opportunities for students in high-tech programs. 
  • has ensured that the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) will have sufficient funding so that no students who are affected by the increased number of graduates in 2003 will be denied access to postsecondary education for financial reasons.

The Government is also strengthening training initiatives for young people who decide to go into the workforce. Specifically: 

  • The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) gives students the opportunity to begin apprenticeships while earning their high school diplomas. Sixty-one school boards and more than 466 secondary schools are currently participating in this program. The government has expanded the program and more than doubled its funding since 1998, increasing funding from $2 million in 1998/99 to $ 5.4 million in 2000/01. 
  • Under the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund (OSOTF) each college and university could establish an Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund to which the province would match donations from companies and individuals. The funds are to assist individuals who, for financial reasons, would not otherwise be able to attend college or university. 
  • Starting in September 2000 new Aiming for the Top scholarships will help students who earn top marks but require financial assistance to attend college or university. At maturity, the government will be providing $35 million to more than 10,000 students. 
  • By expanding the apprenticeship system with the new Apprenticeship and Certification Act, 1998, the Government is helping to meet the skills needs of industry and address the critical skills shortages experienced by many industries. Ontario is committing $15 million over three years for the new Apprenticeship Innovation Fund to update classroom training for existing programs and introduce opportunities in new trades. 
  • The ministry, through Job Connect and Ontario Summer Jobs, offers services to help young people plan, prepare for, and succeed in employment by providing labour market information, help with employment planning, placements in jobs with training (including employer subsidies as required), business start-up loans, summer jobs and apprenticeship training.


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