ONTARIO NEWS RELEASE: Ontario Helping More Young People Start Careers in the Skilled Trades

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March 16, 2022


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Ontario Helping More Young People Start Careers in the Skilled Trades

Province investing in pre-apprenticeship programs and hundreds of innovative training projects across Ontario

March 16, 2022
Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development

  LONDON — The Ontario government is working for workers by expanding its investment in pre-apprenticeship training to a record $28 million, providing more young people with the training they need to launch rewarding careers in the skilled trades. Between July and September 2021, there were more than 330,000 unfilled jobs in Ontario, many of which are in the skilled trades. Pre-apprenticeship training programs are free for participants, combine classroom training with on-the-job learning, and play a crucial role in reducing Ontario’s skilled labour shortage.

“Ontario continues to face a generational labour shortage. To build a stronger Ontario and grow our economy we need all hands on deck. Every day, there are hundreds of thousands of paychecks waiting to be collected,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “That is why our government is making historic investments in innovative programs that upskill workers and connect them to the careers of their dreams, without having to move to a big city.”

Over the coming weeks, Ontario will also be finalizing the second round of projects under the Skills Development Fund – a more than $200 million initiative that supports innovative programs that connect job seekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying careers close to home. The first funding round of the Skills Development Fund last year supported almost 150 projects, including many focused on the skilled trades, and helped 280,000 people around the province take the next step in their careers.

“It is essential that we create greater awareness of the skilled trades as a valuable career path for our youth. Programs that support early consideration and opportunities to explore the trades will ensure that we have the workforce of the future that we need,” said Melissa Young, CEO and Registrar of Skilled Trades Ontario.

These initiatives build on the government’s ongoing efforts to attract, support, and protect workers, making Ontario the top place in the world to work, live and raise a family. They follow legislation Minister McNaughton recently introduced that includes foundational rights for digital platform workers, requirements for employers to disclose their electronic monitoring of employees and for businesses in high-risk settings to have Naloxone kits on-hand, and several red tape reductions to encourage out-of-province workers to help fill the generational labour shortage.


Quick Facts

  • To find out about pre-apprenticeship programs in your area, contact Employment Ontario by phone, e-mail or live chat.
  • Today’s funding increases the government’s annual investment in pre-apprenticeship programs by $5 million.
  • Ontario has also started negotiations with over 52 training organizations to expand 98 pre-apprenticeship projects for current and future tradespeople.
  • There were 1,790 people enrolled in pre-apprenticeship programs from April 2021 to March 2022 across Ontario.
  • Data suggest that the need to replace retiring workers is elevated in the skilled trades. In 2016, nearly one in three journeypersons in Ontario were aged 55 years or older.


“This government’s ongoing support of the skilled trades has been and continues to be a vital investment in Ontario’s future. We are all partners in building a better future. Pre-apprenticeship programs provide an entry into the skilled trades for people with little to no construction background. These training programs, which include paid work placements, can result in well-paying jobs that are in high demand in the masonry industry.”

– David Stubbs
Executive Director, Ontario Masonry Training Centre


Additional Resources


Media Contacts

Harry Godfrey
Minister’s Office

Ciara Nardelli
Communications Branch

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