Apprenticeship registrations up; certifications down
By Adam FreillConstruction Labour
Construction and manufacturing-related trade apprenticeships less impacted than service-related sectors.
The number of new apprenticeship registrations in 2022 surpassed pre-COVID-19-pandemic registration levels and marks the highest number of new registrations since 2014, reports Statistics Canada in its latest look at the skilled trades training programs. According to the figures released earlier this month, 81,141 Canadians registered in an apprenticeship program, an increase of 11.6 per cent, or 8,430 registrants, over 2021.
Certifications, by contrast, remained below pre-pandemic levels, having declined by 354, just under one per cent, to 46,777 in 2022.
Across Canada, elevated levels of job vacancies in the trades, transport, and equipment operators and related occupations continued through 2022. These high levels of unmet labour demand in key industries such as construction and fabricated metal product manufacturing further heightened ongoing concerns about labour supply. This coincided with an increase in new registrations in most trades, compared with the previous year. Among the leading trades in registration increases were carpenters, with a 28.8 per cent jump, heavy-duty equipment mechanics, which were up by almost 23 per cent, and electricians with a rise of more than 20 per cent.
Most provinces and territories reported an increase in new registrations compared to 2021, with numbers surpassing their 2019 pre-pandemic levels in many jurisdictions. The largest increase in new registrations was in Alberta, up 51 per cent as it saw 5,349 more registrations in 2022. Quebec’s 24,723 new registrants is its highest number on record, and an increase of 2.3 per cent from 2021 as it posted a 2022 gain of 558 over the year before. Ontario, which added 1,263 registrants compared to 2021 and Saskatchewan, which was up 312, also recorded large gains in the number of new registrations.
While registration is growing, the number of Canadians certifying in the trades remained below pre-pandemic levels in 2022. Statistics Canada says this may be, in part, due to the impact that the pandemic and its associated public health measures had on certain trades. For instance, trades in the service sector, such as food and beverage services and hairstylists and estheticians were disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and its effects continue to persist three years after the onset of the pandemic. Conversely, certifications exceeded their pre-pandemic levels in a few construction and building operations-related trade groups, such as landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists, millwrights, and refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics.