Ontario making additional investment to attract young people to skilled trades careers


Nov. 24, 2021

SIMCOE – Ontario is investing an additional $90 million over three years to further promote the skilled trades to young people. This investment responds to the Apprenticeship Youth Advisors report, released today, which includes several recommendations to help solve the shortage of skilled workers Ontario is currently facing. The funding will help attract more students to rewarding and lucrative careers in the trades and ensure employers have the workers they need to grow their businesses and drive our economy.

“Teachers and guidance counsellors can go a long way to help more young people find suitable careers in the skilled trades,” said Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett. “The trades can be the ticket for many for a very rewarding, productive careers.”

Further details were shared by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, at GP Bikes in Whitby.

“When you have a job in the skilled trades, you have a job for life,” said Minister McNaughton. “Ontario’s trades are the backbone of our economy. More young people need to know that a job in the trades opens doors to bigger pay cheques, with a pension and benefits. The trades can be their ticket to building a better life, strong family, and a stronger community for us all.”

As part of the announcement, the government is also investing an additional $2.9 million, for a total of $20 million annually, to expand the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) and provide more opportunities for students. The OYAP now has 63 recruiters across more than 800 schools so that students can learn about the skilled trades at a younger age.

“Our government is equipping students with the job and life skills that will help them gain access to meaningful and well-paid employment,” said Minister Lecce. “We have introduced a new math curriculum that focuses on financial literacy, coding, and entrepreneurship, while expanding the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program so that young people have a direct pipeline to good jobs in the skilled trades.”

By 2025, it is estimated that as many as one in five jobs in Ontario will be in the skilled trades, but the average age of people entering the trades is 29. At the same time, a third of tradespeople are nearing retirement, meaning the province is projected to face a shortfall of 100,000 construction workers over the decade.

To encourage employers to take on more apprentices, the province’s investments in achievement incentives and pre-apprenticeship training will increase to over $77 million annually, starting in 2022-2023. The achievement incentive will also focus on hiring apprentices from underrepresented groups, including women, BIPOC people, newcomers, Francophones and people with disabilities. Pre-apprenticeship program participants can also receive living allowances for costs like rent and childcare.

These initiatives bring the government’s total investment in the province’s Skilled Trades Strategy to approximately $1.5 billion between 2020 and 2024. They build on the government’s ongoing efforts to attract, support and protect workers, making Ontario the top place in the world to work, live and raise a family.

Quick Facts

  • The Ministry of Education is planning professional learning opportunities for teachers, including guidance counsellors, so they can become more knowledgeable about the skilled trades. By promoting pathways that lead to the skilled trades and focusing on the skills needed by students to compete in the global economy, Ontario is helping to prepare students for success in the real-world.
  • In January 2022, the province’s new training authority, Skilled Trades Ontario, will become operational, helping more young people find suitable careers in the skilled trades and complete their training faster.
  • Ontario’s Apprenticeship Youth Advisors Jennifer Green, Adam Melnick, and Andrew Pariser were appointed in 2020.
  • The Advisors’ mandate was to engage with stakeholders and partners and advise the government on ways to break the stigma in the skilled trades, tackle barriers to participation from youth and underrepresented groups, and support greater apprenticeship completion rates.
  • As part of their consultations, they received over 5,600 responses to their online survey and held 90+ meetings with more than 400 participants, including youth, educators, employers and trade unions.
  • To further promote careers in the skilled trades, the province has released a new promotional video and advertising campaign, targeted to students with more information on the skilled trades. Starting this fall, Ontario will be investing $2 million to host annual Skilled Trades Career Fairs across the province.
  • Ontario will be accepting applications later this month for funding to develop and deliver pre-apprenticeship training projects.
  • Pre-apprenticeship training programs are publicly funded, last up to one year, and often combine classroom training with an 8-12-week work placement. To find out about programs in your area, contact Employment Ontario by phone, e-mail or live chat.
  • Several of these initiatives are supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.
  • In June 2021, as part of the Province’s broader efforts to modernize learning in Ontario’s publicly funded schools, the Ontario government released a new Grade 9 math course. Intended to equip students with valuable learning opportunities that will support their success in the workforce, the course includes mandatory new learning on coding, data literacy, mathematical modelling and an emphasis on financial literacy.


For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or toby.barrett@pc.ola.org