Ontario Takes Action to Build a Skilled Workforce

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Ontario Takes Action to Build a Skilled Workforce

Government modernizing apprenticeship and skilled trades system

May 31, 2019 11:45 A.M.

Office of the Premier

DURHAM — Ontario is putting people first by helping tradespeople and employers better meet the needs of a rapidly changing economy through faster and easier access to the skills needed to find jobs in the skilled trades. Today, Premier Doug Ford was at the Ontario Power Generation's Darlington Energy Complex, along with Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, and local MPPs David Piccini and Lindsey Park, to discuss how changes to Ontario's apprenticeship and skilled trades system will get local employers the workers they need and get workers the training required for good quality, available jobs.

"Technology is changing Ontario's economy and the skilled trades have to keep up," said Ford. "We know we have talented potential workers in Ontario — providing the right training will make it easier to match talent with good jobs, help us grow the auto and manufacturing sector, and make Ontario open for business."

The Ontario 2019 Budget, Protecting What Matters Most, sets out the government's plan to modernize the apprenticeship and skilled trades system. Ontario will introduce portable skill sets to help speed up certification and training in the skilled trades, without compromising health and safety. Portable skill sets are a new competency-based system to provide workers and employers with more flexibility. Currently, Ontario's tradespeople are required to master the full scope of a trade to complete an apprenticeship and obtain certification.

"There are important and rewarding opportunities available in the skilled trades in Ontario," said Fullerton. "We are listening to industry and tradespeople, and we know we need to get workers interested, trained and working faster. Portable skill sets will help us deliver on our promise to modernize the skilled trades and apprenticeship system, match people and training with good quality jobs, and grow our economy."

Portable skill sets also offer cross-skilling through the trades by letting apprentices, skilled tradespeople and employers to choose skills that they need for the jobs that are available today. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Bruce Power have estimated that between 2021 and 2026 they will need about 1,000 boilermakers.

"Whether it's boilermakers, millwrights or welders, we anticipate that by the mid-point of the Darlington Refurbishment Project the demand for these skilled trades will be at its peak," said Ken Hartwick, OPG's President and CEO. "This is why it's so important that we support the training, development and employment of skilled trades workers in the province. And it's why we're very grateful to the Ontario government for its commitment to fast-tracking skilled trades."

With the new portable skill sets system, training, retraining and certifying workers in the specific skills needed for these opportunities will be more efficient than ever before.

"Our government is introducing portable skill sets so workers can upgrade their training faster than ever before and be ready for new opportunities," said Ford. "It's another way we're providing the tools to make Ontario open for business and open for jobs."

Quick Facts

  • About one in five new jobs in Ontario over the next five years is expected to be in trades-related occupations.
  • Ontario is investing $18.1 million in pre-apprenticeship programs that make Ontarians ready to work in the skilled trades. Applications for the 2019-20 programs will open June 7, 2019.
  • The province is also investing $12.2 million to support the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, helping grade 11 and 12 students to gain experience in the skilled trades while getting credits for school.
  • Building a modern skills training system supports the government’s Housing Supply Action Plan by creating more opportunities for skilled workers to help tackle Ontario’s housing crisis and build more homes to meet the needs of people in every part of Ontario.
  • Job seekers can visit ontario.ca/openforbusiness to get training, build their skills and access career information.

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