BY SYLVIA JONES, MPP
Recently, Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training, and Skills Development, Monte McNaughton, launched an exciting campaign to encourage young people across Ontario to consider a career in the skilled trades. Over 200,000 jobs across many skilled trades sectors are vacant in Ontario, including over 13,000 in the construction sector. These handson careers are meaningful, flexible and offer job security, freedom to travel and in some cases, six-figure salaries. Among the many benefits for businesses associated with hiring more apprentices, the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum finds that for every dollar an employer invests in an apprenticeship, their business gets an average return of $1.47.
This return on investment is significant for employers and Ontario’s economy. Unfortunately, Ontario has less than half the rate of apprentices compared to the national average. That is why we have launched the “Find a Career You Wouldn’t Trade” advertisement campaign to help young people make it in the trades. You may have seen these ads during movie trailers, at your local coffee shop, or online. We want to encourage young people and their parents to visit our new digital trades hub at Ontario.ca/trades, watch the ads, and find out more about the diverse variety of skilled trades across the province.
Part of our plan is also to simplify the skilled trades system as a whole. For example, employers have previously struggled with many layers of bureaucracy to access apprentices. Our government recognizes these difficulties, and we have responded by passing the Modernizing the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Act in 2019. Among other improvements to the system, we have eliminated the Ontario College of Trades membership fees for apprentices, and reduced the fee for journey persons by 50 per cent. These changes build on existing work being done including setting the journey person to apprentice ratios to 1:1 for all trades with ratios. Our government wants to be part of the solution to the skills gap. We will continue working with businesses to make sure we have the skilled workers needed to keep Ontario strong and prosperous. To learn more about how our government is continuing to support those in the skilled trades and those looking join them, visit sylviajonesmpp.ca or call my office 1-800-265- 1603.