June 24, 2021
The Ontario government is investing over $4 million in six projects to support current and future construction workers across the province. These Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario projects will promote the trades, train future workers and ensure that current workers have the right tools and mental health supports they need.
Funding comes as part of the government’s $115 million Skills Development Fund to address challenges to hiring, training and retraining workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and is part of the province’s 2021 Budget.
The six projects in this investment are:
- A pre-apprenticeship program for 460 workers to learn about rodworking typically used in transit and light rail bridge construction. The Ontario Ironworkers District Council will provide two weeks of in-class training and an eight-week work placement. Training will be available in Ottawa, Toronto, Sudbury, Hamilton and Windsor. Those who successfully complete the program will be registered and employed as apprentices.
- The Tomorrow’s Trades project to introduce 96 underrepresented youth to the skilled trades in Hamilton, London, Ottawa and Sudbury. This project will include 12 weeks of hands-on training and a 12-week work placement to learn about being carpenters, electrical workers, pipe trades, sheet metal workers and ironworkers. Upon completion, participants can enter a union-sponsored apprenticeship.
- A new Building and Construction Tradeswomen project to attract more women to the trades through marketing and free training.
- Support for Ironworkers Local 759 in Thunder Bay to purchase necessary equipment used in training, testing and certifying 140 apprentices and journeypersons so they do not need to travel to upgrade or maintain their certifications.
- The development of a one-stop online learning system for those interested in the construction trades to explore and build essential skills they can apply to apprenticeships in construction.
- A research project at the De Novo Treatment Centre in Huntsville to study and provide support for addiction and suicide issues in the construction industry. This project will develop a report and create tools for training centres, unions, and employers to better understand and address mental health.
“The Electrical Contractors’ Association of Ontario (ECAO) applauds the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council (PBCTCO) and the Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development on the announcement and launch of Tomorrow’s Trades. With a focus on recruitment and preparation of candidates that are traditionally underrepresented in the skilled trades, such as women, Indigenous youth, Black youth, persons with disabilities, newcomers, youth at-risk, returning veterans, reservists, cadets, and those from racialized communities for application to apprenticeships and careers in the skilled trades,” commented ECAO Executive Director, Graeme Aitken.
“ECAO welcomes this program and commits, with our labour partners the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Construction Council of Ontario (IBEW CCO), to support fully the important work of Tomorrow’s Trades. We share in the excitement of the program’s founders and funders, and look forward to seeing positive steps forward in our industry.”
- Data suggests that the need to replace retiring workers is greater for skilled trades workers than for other occupations. In 2016, nearly one in three journeypersons were aged 55 years or older.
- According to Statistics Canada, more than 500,000 people were employed in construction in Ontario in 2020.
- The median hourly wage rate of ironworkers in Ontario in 2019 was $40.
- In the fourth quarter of 2020, there were 11,805 job vacancies in the construction sector in Ontario, up from 10,125 in the fourth quarter of 2019.
- Ontario is investing a total of $288.2 million in 2021–22 in its Skilled Trades Strategy. The strategy aims to modernize and evolve the skilled trades and apprenticeship system by reducing the stigma related to a trades career, simplifying the apprenticeship system, and encouraging business participation.
Photo Jeriden Villegas on Unsplash