Ontario investing in new tradespersons training and support programs, reopens exam centres

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.

Details were provided by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, joined by labour leaders and Bob Bailey, MPP for Sarnia-Lambton at United Association Local 527’s Training Centre in London on June 21.

According to Statistics Canada, more than 500,000 people were employed in construction in Ontario in 2020. “Construction workers make our dreams come to life – it’s on their backs that we have the homes our families live in, the schools where we learn, and the hospitals and health care centres that have been crucial to us over the last 18 months,” said Minister McNaughton. “We need to take care of these talented workers by giving them what they need to build with confidence and vision – while training our future generation for these in-demand jobs.”

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 median hourly wage rate of ironworkers in Ontario in 2019 was $40.
  • 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.

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, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy.

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. “The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario applauds the government’s funding announcement. This investment will encourage young people from diverse and underprivileged backgrounds to join the construction trades, support mental health for our construction workers, deliver cutting-edge skills training to thousands of workers across the province, and help attract and retain more women in construction,” said Patrick J. Dillon, Business Manager and Secretary Treasurer, Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario.

MLTSD reopens exam centres

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development has resumed in-person trade exams at its local offices in public health unit regions that have moved into Step 1 of the Roadmap to Reopen.

Exams will not resume in public health unit regions that have not moved into Step 1 of the Roadmap to Reopen.

Safety measures will have to be followed at all the centres, including but not limited to: face coverings, physical distancing and enhanced cleaning.

All clients who had requested exams during the provincial lockdown will be contacted to rebook an exam sitting and priority will be given to clients/groups with the greatest need. In the areas of the province with a high demand for exams, local offices will explore options to increase capacity to address the backlogs which could include additional sittings at ministry locations.

An emphasis for booking exams may be placed on those who fall within one or more of the following circumstances, at the discretion of the exam centre:

  • Compulsory trades;
  • Construction-related trades;
  • Journeyperson whose candidate status has expired or will expire soon;
  • Wage increase or current employment dependent on obtaining Certificate of Qualification;
  • Settlement (i.e., Canadian residency, visa) dependent on obtaining Certificate of Qualification; and
  • Examinees whose exam sitting was postponed.

Further information on our apprenticeship exam centres and the process for writing exams can be found on this site.

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