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Government of Canada announces investments to support skilled tradespeople in Quebec

Press Release

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

May 29, 2024

Skilled tradespeople are essential for Canada to build more homes, make it easier to rent or own, and help the most vulnerable with stable housing. To encourage more people to pursue a career in the skilled trades, the Government of Canada is making investments to attract more young people, women, and under-represented groups to these rewarding and in-demand jobs, while ensuring apprentices are well-supported to develop the skills they need to take advantage of opportunities.

Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault, announced investments of over $42 million for Quebec apprentices through the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy.

The Government of Canada is providing $39.4 million over five years, beginning in 2023-24, to the Government of Quebec through the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy’s Union Training and Innovation Program. Through this joint investment, organizations in Quebec including professional and technical training institutions, Indigenous and not-for-profit organizations, and private sector employer groups will be able to benefit from funding to support investments in modern and up-to-date training equipment and materials. The funding will also support innovation and enhanced partnerships to help improve apprenticeship outcomes. Between 2,000 and 5,000 Red Seal apprentices, including individuals from under-represented groups, are expected to benefit from this funding each year in Quebec.

Minister Boissonnault also highlighted two investments for a total of over $3.5 million to two unions for projects under the Women in the Skilled Trades Initiative, helping women in Quebec get the apprenticeship training and support they need to enter the skilled trades workforce:

  • An investment of over $940,000 to the Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (CSD) aims to reduce barriers and increase access to Red Seal Trades in Quebec by supporting learning activities such as information workshops across schools and facilitating mentoring collaborations.
  • An investment of over $2.5 million to the Syndicat québécois de la construction (SQC) is helping them partner with recruiting firms to hire women apprentices, provide career development training and a wraparound supports to encourage retention and create a welcoming space to help women feel safe.

Minister Boissonnault made the announcement with unions where he met administrators and apprentices involved in projects. While in Quebec City, he will also be providing opening remarks at the Skills Canada National Competition, a multi-trade and technology competition for students and apprentices funded in part through the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy.

Budget 2024 and Canada’s Housing Plan have charted a path to unlocking 3.87 million new homes by 2031. As part of the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy, the Government of Canada is making targeted investments to recruit, retain and train a diverse and inclusive skilled trades workforce that will have the right technical and green skills to build the country’s housing supply and grow tomorrow’s low-carbon economy.

Each year, the Government of Canada invests nearly $1 billion in apprenticeship supports through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training, project funding, and support for the Red Seal Program. This includes over $27 million over five years through a national agreement, from 2022 to 2027, and over $23 million through a regional agreement from 2020 to 2025, for Skills Canada to continue engaging with youth across the country.

Quotes

“A robust skilled trades workforce is key to building a better Canada for all. By supporting Quebec apprentices to enter and grow in high demand careers we can improve the housing supply and reduce barriers to participation for under-represented groups. Providing a path for young people to further their passions in the skilled trades is crucial to addressing the challenges of today and fueling the innovations of tomorrow.”

– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault

“Women are increasingly present on construction sites, reaching a record figure of some 7,500 workers in Quebec by 2023. However, around 60% of them leave the sector after five years. To improve retention, CSD Construction has developed an innovative program that offers coaching, guidance, training and financial support, while combating psychological and sexual harassment. We know that retaining women workers in the industry requires training and workplace support. Our project will promote the recruitment, induction, integration and job retention of women apprentices in the construction trades.”

– Carl Dufour, president of CSD Construction

“Thanks to this grant, the Syndicat québécois de la construction is contributing to the success of women apprentices in Red Seal trades across Quebec by promoting diversity and equity in the workplace, not only among women, but also among employers. The Projet Initiatives Femmes du SQC is a unifying, inclusive project tailored to women construction workers. It includes a working women’s committee made up of tradeswomen, events for women throughout Quebec, financial support to encourage the pursuit of a training program, personalized accompaniment and resources to promote welcoming and integration. At SQC, every woman should feel proud, accomplished and competent as a construction worker.”

– Charles-Olivier Picard, General Manager of the Syndicat québécois de la construction

Quick facts

  • To support more Canadians to explore and learn more about in-demand skilled trades, Budget 2024 proposed to invest $10 million in the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program to encourage Canadians to explore and prepare for careers in the skilled trades. It also proposed to invest an $90 million for the Apprenticeship Service, creating apprenticeship opportunities to train and recruit the next generation of skilled trades workers.
  • The Government of Canada also supports apprentices financially as they progress through their technical training. Apprentices can access Employment Insurance benefits during technical training and up to $20,000 in interest-free Canada Apprentice Loans as well as Apprenticeship Grants of up to $4,000.
  • Canada.ca/skilled-trades provides Canadians with information about what the skilled trades are, how to become a tradesperson and what financial supports are available to them while in training.
  • The Women in the Skilled Trades Initiative, under the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy, focuses on funding projects that recruit, retain, and help women apprentices succeed in 39 eligible Red Seals trades found predominately in the construction and manufacturing sectors.
  • A call for proposals is expected to be launched in the coming weeks for a new sustainable jobs funding stream under the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy’s Union Training and Innovation Program to support unions in leading the development of green skills training for workers in the trades. It is expected that 20,000 apprentices and journeypersons would benefit from this investment.

Associated links

Contacts
For media enquiries, please contact:

Mathis Denis
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages
mathis.denis@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
343-573-1846

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

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