Yes, you read that headline correctly. The government of Ontario is getting into the business of funding esports and gamer design dreams to the tune of one million dollars over the next two years.
A press release from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities reads in past, “The Ontario Esports Scholarship program will offer financial assistance to students enrolled in programs related to the game design, development, marketing, and innovation industry that may lead to a career in similar fields.”
Ontario’s Colleges and Universities Minister Jill Dunlop made a full announcement of the scholarship today from Sheridan College’s Screen Industries Research and Training (SIRT) Centre in downtown Toronto. She offers, “As the first province in Canada to recognize the educational value of esports design and development in this way, we will support students who are building skills that can lead to discoveries, innovation, training opportunities and economic benefits for Ontario… This investment will help students pursue their passion and prepare for careers in the highly lucrative video game and esports sector, and to develop transferable skills valued by employers across countless industries.”
Ontario currently has the most game companies across the country, with just shy of 300 listed between 2017 and 2021. It’s also a hotbed for national esports branding, boasting Toronto-based teams in Call of Duty and Overwatch, as well as hundreds of professional esports players spread across genres and geographical locations. One of the most notable of these companies with an Ontario presence is Ubisoft, which also maintains a pretty large footprint across the country. The company’s Director of Corporate Affairs for Ontario and Western Canada, Julien Lavoie, sees today’s announcement as a means for tapping into the province’s pure potential. “Ontario’s video game industry has tremendous potential for growth. This new scholarship program for the booming video game and esport industry will help to train the next generation of skilled workers and continue to position Ontario as a leader in Canada’s innovation economy.”
The program will be available through eligible publicly assisted colleges and universities offering game design, development, marketing and a handful of related courses. Perspective students will be awarded scholarships in Fall 2022.