Regional Future Workforce (RFW) – Critical Minerals Pilot Program

Program Overview

The OVIN Regional Future Workforce-Critical Minerals Pilot Program aims to address the growing workforce demands and opportunities within Ontario’s critical minerals sector, essential for the automotive and mobility industry, particularly in the context of electric vehicles (EVs) and advanced manufacturing. This program will focus on attracting, training, and retaining talent, fostering innovation, and ensuring sustainable practices, while incorporating key findings and takeaways from OVIN’s Critical Minerals Talent Strategy.

Critical Minerals Talent Strategy – Key Findings

  • Sector Growth: Ontario’s critical minerals sector is projected to expand rapidly, requiring 3,340 additional workers by 2040.
  • Potential Vacancies: Without workforce strategies, an estimated 2,960 job vacancies could arise by 2040, equating to a 14% vacancy rate.
  • Youth Engagement: Early engagement with youth and work-integrated learning can bolster the talent pool for mining.
  • Underrepresented Groups: Focusing on underrepresented groups, such as women and Indigenous communities, can significantly boost skilled labor.
  • Indigenous Community Engagement: Engaging with Indigenous communities early and meaningfully is essential for understanding training needs and maximizing participation.


The goals of OVIN’s Regional Future Workforce – Critical Minerals Pilot Program are:

  • Develop Talent Pipeline: Attract, train and retrain a diverse workforce with the skills needed for the critical minerals industry.
  • Learning Opportunities: Increase exposure to learning and development opportunities relevant to the automotive and mobility sector for underrepresented students (kindergarten to post-secondary) across Ontario.
  • Equity and Inclusion: Increase the number of equity-deserving and underrepresented groups exploring career opportunities in the critical minerals, automotive and mobility sector.
  • Collaboration: Facilitate collaboration across Ontario between non-profit organizations, academic institutions, Indigenous communities, and the automotive and mobility sector.
  • Foster Innovation: Support projects that advance the extraction, processing, and recycling of critical minerals.
  • Strategic Alignment: Address key findings and takeaways from OVIN’s critical minerals strategic reports.

Program Details

The Regional Future Workforce – Critical Minerals Pilot Program aims to bridge the gap between equity-deserving and underrepresented students (kindergarten to post-secondary) and the future automotive and mobility labour force. This will be achieved by providing students with skills, training, and engagement opportunities through educational summer programs.  

  • Applicants can apply for up to $300,000 to develop and deploy relevant student engagement programs on behalf of Ontario’s critical minerals (mining) sector.
  • The overall program consists of 4 streams: K-Gr 4, Gr 5 to Gr 9, Gr 10 to Gr 12, and post-secondary.
    • Applicants can apply to one or more streams.
  • Industry collaboration: Successful applicants are encouraged to partner with at least one industry partner.
  • Program length: Applicants will have a maximum of 2 months to develop and deliver the program (August—September 2024).
  • Applicants must engage a minimum of 50 students, with at least 60% coming from underrepresented and equity-deserving groups. Programs should be offered to participating students at no cost.

Key Requirements and Expected Outcomes

  • Engagement with underrepresented and Indigenous communities: Applicants must engage underrepresented groups and Indigenous communities early and meaningfully to understand training needs and maximize participation.
  • Promotion of the critical minerals sector: Applications must promote awareness of the critical minerals, automotive and mobility sector and attract talent through educational and developmental programs.
  • Collaboration: Applicants must collaborate with educational institutions, non-profit organizations, Indigenous communities, and industry to create a cohesive and supportive ecosystem for workforce development.


  • Eligible applications include Ontario-based elementary and secondary public schools, school boards, post-secondary institutions, non-profits organizations, and Indigenous communities.
  • All partners must be Ontario-based.
  • Industry partners must be Ontario-based within the critical minerals/mining industry, including but not limited to:
    • Mining and mining-adjacent industry establishments, including Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs);
    • Automotive and Mobility – EV Battery Manufacturers, including Tier 1 suppliers; and/or
    • Relevant industry associations within the critical minerals sector (ie. Mining, EV battery manufacturing, or EV battery recycling).
  • Industry partners are encouraged to contribute in-kind (expertise and other appropriate resources) towards the program.
  • All projects should be completed by September 30, 2024, at the latest – no project extensions will be provided. 
  • Applicants that cannot fulfill these requirements will not be eligible for funding.
  • Overall partnership requirements are outlined below:
Partnership Requirements School BoardsAcademic InstitutionsNon-Profits OrganizationsIndigenous
Collaborate with at least one industry partner to develop programsStrongly Encouraged Strongly Encouraged Strongly EncouragedStrongly Encouraged
Work with at least one post-secondary institution with strong critical minerals (mining) and automotive and mobility initiatives to develop programsStrongly Encouraged N/AStrongly Encouraged Encouraged
Work with at least one school/school 
board to coordinate student 
Work with at least one Indigenous community to deploy encourage increased partnerships Strongly Encouraged Strongly Encouraged Strongly EncouragedN/A

**Please note that program funds will only be released to successful lead applicants, and not to their partners. Applicants who have received over $500,000 of funding from OCI administered programs in their lifetime (excluding Talent Edge) are required to obtain OCI approval before a new application for funding is initiated.

How to Apply

The Regional Future Workforce – Critical Minerals Pilot Program employs a one-stage application process.The full application package must include your application proposal and any other supporting documents.

Please complete and submit your proposal by July 18, 2024 at 5pm EST.

For more details about this program, please see the Program Guidelines (PDF). 

If you have any questions about the process, please contact Shannon Miller, Talent Strategy & Workforce Planning Project Lead at

Important Resources
Funding Agreement
Eligible Expenses
Application Questions
Students and Instructors Surveys

Proponent Information Session
View the Q&A

View the recording:

Passcode: hv4#J#@y

Intake Form

Submit this intake form and see if this program is the right fit for your organization!