6 Ways You Can Get Free Money & Perks From Ontario To Improve Your Education

So you don't have to take on more debt.

Queen's Park in Ontario. Right: Construction workers in Toronto

Queen's Park in Ontario. Right: Construction workers in Toronto

Ontario's cost of living likely has many residents looking to upgrade their education in the hopes of a salary increase. However, since taking on massive debt to earn more is not the most appealing option, we've shortlisted a few non-OSAP workarounds.

As it turns out, the provincial government currently offers a variety of programs and perks to help people improve their education without having to take out a loan.

The initiatives, which target everyone from future electricians to nurses, aim to alleviate some of the financial strain that has become so prominent in the province.

Need to see it to believe it? Take a look at the list below!

Catch Up Payments

How It Works: This program provides financial support to individuals to help cover the costs of their child's tutoring, supplies, or equipment for the 2022-2023 school year. Eligible applicants will receive a one-time payment of between $200 and $250.

Who Is Eligible:

  • "Parent or guardian to a student from kindergarten to Grade 12
  • Secondary school student who is 18 years of age
  • Parent or guardian to a student from kindergarten up to age 21 with special education needs," a description on Ontario's website states.

Deadline To Apply: March 31, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.

Apply Here

Community Commitment Program for Nurses

How It Works: The Commitment Program for Nurses (CCPN) provides $25,000 in grant funding to eligible nurses, distributed in six instalments, in exchange for "a two-year commitment to an eligible employer," the Ontario government stated.

Who Is Eligible:

  • "Not have been employed as a nurse in Ontario in the six months prior to being hired;
  • Hold a Certificate of Registration in good standing from the College of Nurses of Ontario;
  • Begin employment no later than March 31, 2024;
  • Commit to two-years of employment at a full-time work schedule offered by the employer; and
  • Not simultaneously receive funds from the Ministry of Health for the Tuition Support Program for Nurses," CCPN states.

Deadline To Apply: Individuals must begin employment before March 31, 2024.

Apply Here

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program

How It Works: Those participating in the program will receive up to $4,200 to support them while they complete eight weeks of in-class learning.

Who Is Eligible: Individuals 15 years or older who have a minimum of 14 completed credits towards their OSSD, are enrolled at the secondary school as well as "a cooperative education placement in an apprenticeship trade."

Deadline To Apply: N/A

Apply Here

Ontario Learn and Stay Grant

How It Works: The Ontario Learn and Stay Grant provides free tuition for students studying "in priority programs in priority communities in Ontario."

Who Is Eligible:

  • "Apply to at least one of the eligible programs
  • Be an Ontario resident who is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person
  • Enrol in an eligible diploma, advanced diploma, undergraduate, masters or post-graduate program in a priority community
  • Commit to work in that region when you graduate," the program's description reads.

Deadline To Apply: N/A (applications are expected to open Spring 2023)

Apply Here

Dual Credit Program

How It Works: Dual credit programs allow students in high school to take college or apprenticeship courses that count towards a secondary school diploma, a degree and a Certificate of Apprenticeship.

Who Is Eligible:

  • Those who are "at risk of not graduating from high school
  • Enrolled in a Specialist High Skills Major
  • Enrolled in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program
  • Returning to high school to get their diploma
  • Interested in exploring career pathways, including apprenticeships
  • Looking for help with the transition to college or an apprenticeship program," the program's description reads.

Deadline To Apply: N/A

Apply Here

Tomorrow's Trade Programs

How It Works: It's a 12-week program where people will "receive required personal protective equipment, Milwaukee tool kit and a daily transportation stipend." Tomorrow’s Trades participants receive $225 per week for training and transportation costs as they pursue their careers.

Who Is Eligible: Underrepresented or at-risk students, between the ages of 18-35, who are interested in a career in construction or a skilled trade.

Deadline To Apply: March 2023

Apply Here

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Patrick John Gilson
Patrick John Gilson was a Creator with Narcity Media focused on Ontario gas prices and is based in Toronto, Ontario.