Government of Canada invests in supports for apprentices to complete their training and find work in the skilled trades

Mississauga Board of Trade
Mississauga Board of Trade


July 3, 2020


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In order to better position our country for a strong economic recovery, the Government of Canada is investing in our skilled trades to ensure that Canadians have the training they need to access these good, well-paying jobs.

Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced that the Government is investing $40 million over three years in the Union Training and Innovation Program and has launched two calls for proposals. Eligible organizations are encouraged to apply for funding through two streams: Stream 1: Investments in Training Equipment; and Stream 2: Innovation in Apprenticeship.

Eligible projects will help unions across Canada improve the quality of training through investments in equipment and materials and support innovation and broad-based partnerships to address challenges faced by apprentices. The Program will also help to reduce barriers to participation and success in the trades among under‑represented groups such as women, newcomers, persons with disabilities and visible minorities including Black Canadians. In order to support institutions as they continue to look at alternative delivery methods for future training, the Government encourages projects that allow apprentices and organizations to continue their training online.

With this investment, more apprentices will be able to gain the skills and experience they need to become certified journeypersons.


The Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP), announced in Budget 2016, targets the Red Seal trades and involves broad-based partnerships with a number of stakeholders. The Program objectives are to:

  • improve the quality of training through investments in equipment;
  • support innovative approaches and partnerships with other stakeholders; and
  • reduce barriers to participation and success in the trades for key groups including women, newcomers and persons with disabilities.

The Program has two streams and is open to all unions, including those that do not provide training recognized by provinces and territories as technical apprenticeship training, and those that do not operate training facilities.

  1. The Investments in Training Equipment Stream (Stream 1) helps unions purchase training equipment. Continuous technological change puts pressure on training providers to ensure workers are developing the right skills needed on the job site.
  2. The Innovation in Apprenticeship Stream (Stream 2) supports innovation and broad-based partnerships to address challenges that limit apprenticeship outcomes in Canada. This stream is open to a range of stakeholders and partners, with unions needing to be involved, either as the lead or as a partner on projects.

Quebec organizations are not eligible to apply for funding through the UTIP given that unions in the province are not directly involved in apprenticeship training. In Quebec, this training is solely undertaken in the public school system prior to an individual registering with an employer as an apprentice.

To account for specificities in Quebec’s apprentice training system, the UTIP is implemented in Quebec through a separate agreement with the provincial government. Under the agreement, Employment and Social Development Canada is investing approximately $12 million from 2018–19 to 2020–21, while the Government of Quebec is investing $10 million to support the objectives of the UTIP.

Other supports to help under‑represented groups in the trades
To support targeted groups facing barriers to succeed in the skilled trades, the Government of Canada launched the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women. This grant provides $3,000 per year or level, up to a maximum amount of $6,000, to registered apprentices who self-identified as a woman and have successfully completed their first or second year/level of an apprenticeship program in eligible Red Seal trades where they are under‑represented.

In addition to the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women, the Government implemented two other initiatives to help apprentices succeed:

  • the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness Program provides $10 million annually to encourage Canadians—particularly those facing barriers such as women, Indigenous people, newcomers, persons with disabilities and youth—to explore and prepare for careers in the trades; and
  • the Women in Construction Fund with $10 million over three years, starting in 2018–19, to support projects building on existing models that have proven to be effective in attracting women to the trades such as mentoring, coaching and tailored supports.

Budget 2019 Initiatives
To further support the skilled trades, the Government proposed several new measures in Budget 2019:

  • $40 million over four years in funding for Skills Canada, starting in 2020–21, and $10 million per year ongoing to encourage more young people to consider training and work in the skilled trades;
  • $6 million over two years, starting in 2019–20, to create a national campaign to promote the skilled trades as a first-choice career for young people;
  • a new Apprenticeship Strategy to ensure that existing supports and programs available to apprentices address the barriers faced by those who want to work in the skilled trades and support employers who face challenges in hiring and retaining apprentices;
  • lower interest rate on Canada Apprentice Loans starting in 2019–20 and making the first six months after a borrower completes their apprenticeship training interest-free; and
  • the new Canada Training Benefit, which would give workers money to help pay for training, provide income support during training and offer job protection so that workers can take the time they need to keep their skills relevant and in demand.

Additionally, as announced in the mandate letter for the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, the Government of Canada will support apprenticeship and the skilled trades by:

  • creating the Canadian Apprenticeship Service in partnership with provinces, territories, employers and unions. This will involve establishing new initiatives so that Red Seal apprentices have sufficient work experience opportunities to finish their training on time and find well-paying jobs, including providing up to $10,000 per apprentice over four years for every new position created; and
  • continuing to support the work of the national campaign to promote the skilled trades as first-choice careers for young people.
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