Ontario Self-Employment Benefit Shuts Down in 2016

The Ontario Self-Employment Benefit (OSEB) will be cancelled in 2016, after 23 years of supporting unemployed citizens of the province as they launched their own small businesses.

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, which administers the OSEB, said funding will be redirected to more successful employment and training programs including apprenticeship services, the second career program, and initiatives for job searching, matching, placement and retention. The OSEB budget in 2014-15 was $49.2 million.

The Reason for the OSEB Shutdown

In announcing the decision to terminate OSEB, Ontario officials noted that nearly half of people enrolled in the program failed to complete it. This led them to question whether taxpayer dollars were being allocated in a responsible manner.

“The winding down of this program is the right thing to do,” said Ontario Legislative Assembly member Hon. Reza Moridi during a recent interview.

Unused OSEB funding is being redirected to the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure to invest more on Small Business Enterprise Centres. There are 57 such centres across Ontario.

“A Holistic Program”

The OSEB funding cut came as a shock to many, including Melanie Haldane, senior director of employment services for the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region. She noted that while there are other programs supporting those trying to start small businesses, OSEB was more “holistic” and unique in providing financial support during training. Haldane reported that in Ottawa every year, program completion rates were high; between 130 and 150 people per year against a target of 180.

Persons already enrolled in OSEB will continue to receive their program assistance; however, no new applicants are being accepted.

“It’s sad for me to see it not being renewed,” said Nilufer Erdebil, who last year was named one of the Ottawa Business Journal’s Forty Under 40. Erdebil said she would have been unable to start her business, Spring2 Innovation Consulting, had it not been for the financial support, mentoring and networking opportunities that came with OSEB. She completed the program in 2012.

For additional Ontario business updates – as well as resources for sourcing, hiring, training and developing your staff for today and the future – contact Employment Professionals Canada today.