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Ontario Government Invests $2.1 Million in Training Program for Horsepeople

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Ontario Government Invests $2.1 Million in Training Program for Horsepeople

February 10, 2022
The Ontario government is investing $2.1 million to train workers for rewarding careers in the horse racing industry. This new training program will provide 250 participants with free training, up to $3,000 to cover expenses, and paid work placements. Employers can also receive up to $1,000 per hire.

The horse racing and breeding sector contributes $2.3 billion annually to Ontario’s economy. The Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA), in partnership with Equine Guelph, will develop and deliver the training program that teaches participants about horse behavior, handling and care, nutrition, and safety in stables.

“Our horse racing industry is something everyone in our province should take pride in, but many farms, racetracks and training centres are having difficulty finding workers with the skills they need,” said Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton. “This investment will ensure these growing businesses can find the talent they need while connecting local people with training for careers they can take pride in.”

The horse racing industry has been amazingly resilient throughout the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Ontario Racing is grateful for the Ontario Government’s continued support of horsepeople. The training programs are open to horsepeople in all three racing breeds, in addition to other equine sectors.

“Our world class horse population relies on the care and expertise of our amazing horsepeople,” said Ontario Racing Executive Director, Gordon Thain. “This program will ease barriers of entry and encourage more people to enter the rewarding vocation of horsemanship.”

The course includes eight weeks of online academic instruction, followed by paid work placements of six to 12 weeks at local employers.

“Grooms and caretakers are fundamental to the health, welfare, and safety of the horses, and therefore are critical to the success of our industry,” said Jim Whelan, President of the Ontario Harness Horse Association. “This project is an incredible opportunity for unemployed and under-employed job seekers in small-town Ontario who are eager for a rewarding career in the equine industry.”

In addition to Minister McNaughton, Donna Skelly, MPP for Flamborough—Glanbrook, Bob Bailey, MPP for Sarnia—Lambton, Randy Pettapiece, MPP for Perth—Wellington, and Bill Walker, MPP for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, at the Ancaster Fairgrounds in Jerseyville, were on hand for the announcement.

“These programs open doors to young people who have never worked with horses but would embrace a career in the horse industry” said MPP Skelly. “The equine sector needs to fill job vacancies and this program connects trained job seekers with racing industry employers.”

With files from the Government of Ontario

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