Government of Canada Bolsters the Skilled Trades Sector by Investing in Training

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May 4, 2022

Now more than ever, skilled tradespeople are in high demand to fill well-paying jobs and build rewarding careers. The most recent projections estimate that about 700,000 skilled trades workers are expected to retire between 2019 and 2028, creating an ever-growing need to recruit and train thousands more. That is why the Government of Canada is making targeted investments to create good jobs, grow our economy, and build a Canada where nobody gets left behind.

Irek Kusmierczyk, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced over $7 million in funding for 29 projects under Stream 1 of the Union Training and Innovation Program. The announcement was made on behalf of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough. These projects will help unions across Canada improve the quality of training through investments in equipment and materials leading to a more skilled, inclusive, certified and productive trades workforce.

Mr. Kusmierczyk made the announcement as part of his address at the Canada’s Building Trades Unions Annual Conference in Ottawa. The event attracted a wide audience, including provincial leaders, industry leaders from the construction and energy sectors, and business managers.

In his address, Mr. Kusmierczyk spoke about the Government of Canada’s support for the skilled trades, including: new measures and funding under Budget 2022; support for students; the transition to a low-carbon economy; modernization of the Employment Insurance program; and how the Government will invest in the next generation of the workforce.

Budget 2022 invests to help apprentices from under-represented groups—including women, newcomers, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, and racialized Canadians—begin and succeed in careers in the skilled trades through mentorship, career services and job matching. It also proposes to launch a new union-led advisory table that brings together unions and trade associations to advise the Government on priority investments to help workers navigate the changing labour market with a particular focus on skilled mid-career workers in at-risk sectors and jobs.

To highlight the value of skilled trades workers and the wide range of supports available to build a successful and fulfilling career in the trades, the Government launched an advertising campaign earlier this year to promote the skilled trades as first choice careers for young people and diverse populations. The campaign website (Canada.ca/skilled-trades) provides Canadians with information about what the skilled trades are, how to become a tradesperson, and what financial supports are available to them while in training. 

Quotes

“Canada needs more skilled trades workers—to build our homes, to engineer new, sustainable solutions, and so much more. That’s exactly why we’re investing in our unions and trade workers across Canada, including multiple projects in Windsor–Tecumseh. When someone wants to become a carpenter, or a welder, or a contractor, we want to make sure they have the training they need, wherever they are, to do it.” 

Irek Kusmierczyk,
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment,
Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

“There’s never been a more exciting time to join the skilled trades. The demand is there, and we’re making sure that the training and resources are too. We’re working with partners like Canada’s Building Trades Unions so that Canadians aren’t just aware of the opportunities that the skilled trades present, they’re also ready and able to seize them.” 

Carla Qualtrough,
Minister of Employment,
Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

“Canada’s Building Trades Unions applauds the Government of Canada for its support for skilled trades workers in Budget 2022. The labour mobility tax deduction for tradespeople is something we have advocated for for over two decades. It will support working Canadians and families to travel to where the work is, helping to address labour availability across the country. The doubling of the Union Training and Innovation Program—which has already been immensely helpful in its first few years of operations—further supports training and education, ensuring we are able to deliver the workforce of tomorrow. We are proud to celebrate these policies at our ‘Stronger Now’ conference, which speaks to the challenges we’ve faced over the last several years and the strength of our workforce, which build Canada’s infrastructure. Canada’s Building Trades Unions knows that together, we’re stronger now than we’ve ever been.”

Sean Strickland,
Executive Director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions

Quick facts

  • Measures in Budget 2022 to support tradespeople include:
    • $84.2 million over four years to double funding for the Union Training and Innovation Program to help apprentices from under-represented groups begin and succeed in careers in the skilled trades through mentorship, career services and job matching.
    • The new Labour Mobility Deduction, which would provide tax recognition on up to $4,000 per year in eligible travel and temporary relocation expenses to eligible tradespersons and apprentices. This measure would apply to the 2022 and subsequent taxation years.
    • $2.5 million in 2022–23 for Employment and Social Development Canada to launch a new union-led advisory table that brings together unions and trade associations. The table will advise the Government on how to help workers navigate the changing labour market, with a particular focus on skilled, mid-career workers in at-risk sectors and jobs. 
  • The Government of Canada is investing nearly $1 billion annually in apprenticeship supports through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training, project funding, and support for the Red Seal program. Announced in Budget 2019, the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy will strengthen existing apprenticeship supports and programs by helping apprentices and key apprenticeship stakeholders, including employers, to participate and succeed in the skilled trades.  
  • According to the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, to meet the demand for skilled journeypersons in Red Seal trades, an average of around 75,000 new apprentices will need to be hired per year in the next five years. Top trades most at risk of not meeting the demand include welder, industrial mechanic (millwright), bricklayer, boilermaker, cook and hairstylist.
  • According to BuildForce Canada, the construction industry needs to recruit 309,000 new workers over the next decade (2021 to 2030), driven predominantly by the expected retirement of 259,100 workers (22% of the current labour force). 
  • In Canada, young women continue to be less likely to express interest in a career in the skilled trades. According to a survey done by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, only 2% of 15-year-old female students indicated that they were definitely planning to pursue a career in the skilled trades.
  • The Canada’s Building Trades Unions are the national voice of over half a million Canadian construction workers who are members of 14 international unions and work in more than 60 different trades and occupations.

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