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Minister Boissonnault announces over $7 million investment in skilled trades workers in Windsor

Press Release

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

January 24, 2024

Canada’s workforce needs more skilled trade workers. Demographic shifts and high retirement rates are fueling demand and an ever-growing need to recruit and train thousands more Canadians in the skilled trades. That is why the Government of Canada is investing in the skilled trades, ensuring that Canadians from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds have access to the training they need to get these good, in-demand and well-paying careers.

Today, at Build a Dream, in Windsor, Ontario, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault, announced funding for over $7.3 million for two projects through the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy’s Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) – Innovation in Apprenticeship Stream. These projects will improve the participation of underrepresented groups, such as women, newcomers, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, and racialized Canadians, in the Red Seal trades.

Through the first project titled Diversifying the Talent Pipelines for In-demand Red Seal Trades, Build a Dream to Empower Women will receive more than $4 million over two years to help up to 18,000 underrepresented apprentices in Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia improve their overall skills and competencies in leadership and team building. Participants will also get support to upgrade their technical skills through hands-on experience. In collaboration with unions and employers, the organization will help participants find work placements in the Red Seal trades.

As part of the second project, Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc. (WEST) will receive more than $3 million over four years for their SMART for Women project to help up to 400 unrepresented apprentices to progress and succeed in their apprenticeships. WEST will provide math refresher courses; assist participants to enroll in technical training courses offered by trades schools and training providers; and provide participants with wrap-around supports, such as childcare and financial support, so they can complete their apprenticeship training successfully and pursue in-demand jobs.

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.


“Investing in training and opportunities for Canadian workers is how we fill critical labour gaps across Canada. Build a Dream to Empower Women and Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc are doing this work on the ground and directly supporting the future of Windsor’s workforce. This $7.3 million investment will strengthen our workforce and grow our economy, and support middle class jobs for the people of Windsor.”

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

“Build a Dream is dedicated to cultivating a skilled and diverse workforce and ensuring that apprentices have the support they need to successfully complete their apprenticeship at all levels. Through the UTIP grant, we are committed to providing necessary resources such as virtual simulators, connecting employers and employees through the largest You’re Hired Road Show, skill development opportunities, bridging the gap and facilitating connections between stakeholders at all levels. We acknowledge the value of this program and are working actively towards creating equal opportunities and promoting diversity in the trades industry.”

– Nour Hachem, President and Founder, Build A Dream

“Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc. is thrilled to have this support from the Federal government through this grant which will assist in increasing success in the skilled trades for key groups including women, newcomers, Indigenous women, and low-income apprentices in the Red Seal trades. This federal funding will allow WEST to build on existing partnerships with local unions, educational institutions, local employers and expand on best practices to help women to succeed in the skilled trades.”

– Rose Anguiano Hurst, Executive Director, Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc.

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy (CAS) is a funding program that supports skilled trades workers and employers. It provides funding to help apprentices, employers, unions, and other organizations participate in apprenticeship.
  • Under the Innovation in Apprenticeship stream of the CAS UTIP, the Government of Canada is investing up to $55 million over five years, beginning in 2023–2024 to address challenges that are limiting equity deserving groups from succeeding in an apprenticeship. The two projects being announced result from a call for proposals launched in October 2022.
  • In 2022-23, over thirty thousand Canadians benefitted from the Union Training and Innovation Program.
  • Other funding streams in the CAS include: the Investments in Training Equipment stream which helps unions across Canada improve the quality of training through investments in equipment and materials. A new sustainable jobs funding stream, announced in the 2022 Fall Economic Statement, which supports 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.
  • In the 2023 Fall Economic Statement, the government announced that it will work to remove barriers to internal labour mobility and encourage provinces and territories to cut the red tape to improve the mobility of tradespeople and eliminate further barriers, such as duplicative credential recognition.

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Mathis Denis
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada



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