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Helmets to Hardhats and Aboriginal Veterans Autochtones sign Memorandum of Understanding to increase pathways into skilled trades for Indigenous Veterans

Press Release

OTTAWA — As the Government of Canada works to resettle at least 40,000 Afghan refugees by the end of 2023, Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) is collaborating with Aman Lara and local building trades unions across Canada to provide recently resettled Afghan nationals with opportunities in the skilled trades.

For many Canadian newcomers, finding and securing well-paying, meaningful employment is a critical yet difficult step in their resettlement journey. That is why Helmets to Hardhats, a national non-profit organization typically dedicated to supporting transitioning military members, Veterans, Cadets, Reservists and military family members into opportunities in the skilled trades, has expanded their program eligibility to include resettled Afghan nationals. Helmets to Hardhats believes that because of their sacrifices and support of the Canadian military, it is our turn to assist them. Helmets to Hardhats is easing the transition into Canadian society with career and apprenticeship opportunities in the unionized construction industry.

Helmets to Hardhats provides direct and meaningful connections to ensure that Afghans interested in joining the skilled trades can break into the industry with little to no stress and no cost to the career seeker. The inclusion of Afghans into the Helmets to Hardhats program is aiding their successful transition into Canadian life by providing financial stability, earn-while-you-learn training opportunities, and access to health benefits and pension plans.

Helmets to Hardhats works directly with Canada’s 14 Building Trades Unions to find our clients careers in over 60 different trades and occupations. Aman Lara is also supporting Helmets to Hardhats in connecting Afghan refugees to well-paying careers in the skilled trades. Currently, Helmets to Hardhats is working closely with:

  • Aman Lara: a non-profit organization that evacuates vulnerable people from nations in crises. They communicate directly with vulnerable clients throughout the evacuation process and assist in their resettlement upon arrival in Canada. Aman Lara has been vital in spreading awareness of the opportunities and benefits within the skilled trades to resettled Afghans and their families.
  • Carpenters’ Regional Council: is composed of 31 affiliated Local Unions of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, representing members from Ontario to British Columbia. Many of their Locals are now employing Afghan nationals through the Helmets to Hardhats Program and are supported by their Veteran Liaison, Michael Humphries.
  • Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU): is the national voice of over half a million Canadian construction workers–members of 14 international unions who work in more than 60 different trades and occupations. CBTU is committed to representing all workers in the unionized construction industry, building a diverse workforce and ensuring all workers are treated equally.

These organizations are filling critical labour shortages while providing sustainable employment and developing a diverse and inclusive skilled trades workforce. Over the last 18 months, many of the Local Unions of the Carpenters’ Regional Council have provided work opportunities for Afghan refugees and their family members since they arrived in Canada, including Local 27 and Local 675 in the GTA and Local 1946 in London, ON.

Helmets to Hardhats will continue collaborating with Canada’s Unions and like-minded organizations to assist additional Afghan nationals in finding and retaining stable careers in the skilled trades.



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