NEWS: May 10, 2024

Government investing $293,800 to help 150 people gain the skills needed to work in the growing agriculture sector

Newmarket Region  — The Ontario government is investing $293,800 to upskill 150 jobseekers in Stem Minds Corporation’s The Future of Food and Farming: Innovations in Horticulture and Indoor Agriculture project which is being executed in partnership with Boreal Farms that addresses skill gaps in the agriculture sector in Aurora / Newmarket Region by providing immersive learning experiences, industry-relevant curriculum, and community engagement activities in horticulture, indoor agriculture, and sustainable food production. The initiative aims to build foundational skills, introduce innovations in the agri-food value chain, and foster partnerships to support workforce transitions into in-demand agri-tech occupations. This initiative is supported through the government’s Skills Development Fund Training Stream, a program that offers funding to a wide range of organizations for innovative projects that help jobseekers gain the skills needed to find meaningful work in well-paying sectors.

“Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government is proud to invest in programs that support training and upskilling,” said David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “This project will give people the necessary skills needed to land in-demand and well-paying jobs in their communities and contribute to our province.”

“This funding for the Future of Food and Farming project will train a new wave of leaders in agriculture, equipping them to advance farming methods in York Region and beyond,” said Dawn Gallagher Murphy, MPP for Newmarket—Aurora. “By addressing the skills shortage in our agricultural sector, we are boosting economic growth and positioning our communities at the forefront of agricultural education and innovation. This is an important move to ensure a stable and secure food supply for our region’s future.”

The Skills Development Fund Training Stream is open to a wide range of applicants, including employers, industry associations, labour unions, municipalities, hospitals and many more. The funding announced today builds on the government’s mission to make Ontario the best place in the world to work, live and raise a family.

“Empowering youth with the skills for the future of farming is essential,” said Anu Bidani, CEO of STEM Minds Corp. “We’re excited to contribute to this initiative, fostering sustainable development within the community.”

“Our commitment to cultivating the next generation of agri-food leaders finds a perfect match in this initiative,” said Brandon Herbor, Boreal Farms.

The Ontario government announced in the 2024 Budget: Building a Better Ontario an additional investment of $100 million through the SDF to grow the trades workforce and build Ontario. This brings Ontario’s total SDF investment to nearly $1 billion.

Quick Facts

  • So far, the Skills Development Fund Training Stream has supported over 600 projects, aiming to help over half a million people around the province take the next step in their careers.
  • Nearly 235,000 jobs are going unfilled across the province.
  • The Skills Development Fund Training Stream is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.

Additional Resources



Teena Bogner
Constituency Manager
Email: Dawn.GallagherMurphy@pc.ola.org
Phone: 905-853-9889

About STEM Minds

STEM Minds Corp is a social enterprise with a vision to empower the next generation of global leaders and innovators. Their mission is to make STEAM education accessible to youth across the globe.  Their advanced STEAM curriculum includes an evolving range of dynamic in-person / virtual classes and on-demand courses in STEAM (Coding, Robotics, Entrepreneurship, Digital Art and Media, AI, and more.). They have recently launched an Agri Tech program to address food insecurity and sustainability challenges. STEM Minds helps to break down barriers, empowering the next generation of future-ready youth. To learn more about STEM Minds, visit https://www.stemminds.com. STEM Minds Media Contact: Anu Bidani, anu.bidani@stemminds.com

About Boreal Farms

Boreal Farms is a platform for the education and empowerment of the next generation of farmers and leaders in the agri-food industry. Boreal facilitates immersive teaching and training workshops at their farm and living laboratory in King City. Their work extends beyond farming and teaching, supporting numerous food and farming infrastructure projects with partners across the country, including ‘agri-hood’s’ as a concept that brings food infrastructure into new developments through structured programming and coordinated engagement with residents. To learn more about Boreal Farms, visit https://www.borealfarms.ca  Contact: Brandon Herbor, bhebor@borealfarms.ca