On-Site Magazine

Government of Canada promoting skilled trades

By Adam Freill   

Construction Labour

Construction sector needs 309,000 new workers by 2030.

With recent projections indicating that 700,000 skilled trades workers are expected to retire between 2019 and 2028, Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, has launched an advertising campaign to promote the skilled trades as a strong first-choice career path for youth and young adults.

The construction sector is at particular risk of workforce shortages, according to numbers compiled by Buildforce Canada. Their research indicates the industry needs to recruit 309,000 new construction workers by 2030 to offset the expected retirement of 259,100 workers, or 22 per cent of the current labour force.

A comprehensive website that offers a one-stop national repository for information about the skilled trades, www.canada.ca/skilled-trades, was also launched as part of the campaign. The site aims to help young Canadians learn about the more than 300 skilled trades in Canada and the Red Seal trade designation. The site also highlights in-demand trades in each region and available financial support offered by the government.


“Canada’s workforce needs more skilled trade workers. They have expertise and skills that are essential to our economy and our way of life,” stated Qualtrough. “When Canadians are contemplating a new career, we want them to consider entering the skilled trades and to understand the exciting, well-paying opportunities that they present.”

The campaign was developed with insights and contributions from an advisory committee composed of representatives from the trades, including: Jamie McMillan, an ironworker and boilermaker by trade; Mandy Rennehan, CEO and founder of contracting firm Freshco; Matt Wayland, executive assistant to the international vice-president and Canadian director of government relations for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Canada; and France Daviault, executive director of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum.

“As Canada experiences more shortages in the skilled trades, it is more important than ever to reach young Canadians from all backgrounds and show them how the trades offer rewarding and high-paying careers. Careers that allow you to earn while you learn on the job,” added Wayland. “Whether it is building a new hospital or school in your community, to the greenest skyscrapers or clean renewable power plants that will help Canada meet our climate change goals, the skilled trades will be front and centre in tackling the country’s greatest challenges and building a greener, more resilient future.”

The Canadian government invests nearly $1 billion annually in apprenticeship supports through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training, project funding, and support for the Red Seal Program, in addition to existing funding programs.




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