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Ontario offering free skilled trades guidance for immigrants

By Rob Blackstien   


Province is investing over $900,000 to help 900 new immigrants enter skilled trades careers.

Monte McNaughton (Legislative Assembly of Ontario)

The Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development has announced an investment of over $900,000 to connect 900 new immigrants with skilled trade jobs, such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, mechanics and welders.

The newcomers to the province will receiver free virtual workshops for training and job connections.

“Across the province, we continue to hear from businesses in the skilled trades who can’t find the workers they need to grow,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “These are bigger paycheques waiting for hardworking people to collect them.”

He said the program will connect newcomers with the training and support required to help fill these positions.


The workshops, which are being organized by the YMCA/YWCA, will be offered to newcomers in Ottawa, Toronto, and other Ontario cities. Accessible online from an electronic device, these sessions will run until the end of February 2022.

Participants will learn how find an apprenticeship, what employers are seeking, and how to get a Trades Equivalency Assessment. Additionally, outreach workers are being hired to help promote connections between workshop participants, employers, and local employment service centres.

“By scaling this project to five Y’s across the Province, and targeting three main stakeholder groups – employers in the sector, service providers, and newcomers – we will improve access to apprenticeship training and employment across Ontario,” says Bob Gallagher, President and Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA-YWCA in the National Capital Region

The funding for this project is part of the province’s $200 million+ investment in the Skills Development Fund.

“Newcomers to Kanata and West Carleton bring so much talent to our community,” says Dr. Merrilee Fullerton MPP for Kanata-Carleton. “Minister McNaughton continues to bring forward innovative programs that will ensure that high demand and skilled jobs are filled by connecting the right people to the right opportunities.”

Quick Facts

  • Register for the information sessions by emailing ontap@ymcaywca.ca or calling 613-788-5001.
  • In the first eight months of 2021, there were 82,000 online postings in Ontario for jobs in skilled trades and 6,900 in Ottawa alone.
  • In 2016, nearly one in three workers in Ontario with trade certificates was aged 55 years or over, according to Statistics Canada.
  • The construction industry will likely need to hire more than 100,000 additional workers in Ontario over the next decade (2021-2030), including skilled tradespeople, due to retirements and employment growth, according to BuildForce Canada, March 2021.
  • The average hourly wage for a welder was $26.02 in Ontario in 2020, $28.02 for an automotive service technician, $28.70 for a carpenter, $31.60 for a heavy-duty equipment mechanic, $31.62 for a plumber and up to almost $45 an hour for an electrician.
  • In September 2021, there were 591,600 unemployed people in Ontario.
  • Ontario’s Skills Development Fund is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.



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