Ontario faces a severe challenge with replacing its skilled trade labour force as one in three workers with an apprenticeship or trade certificate is 55 or over.
There are 1.3 million people working in skilled trades-related occupations in Ontario out of a total of 7.9 million workers in the province. The challenge is that at least one in three workers in Ontario with an apprenticeship or trade certificate is aged 55 or over and nearing retirement.
Apprenticeships is an effective way to replenish the province’s labour pool. In total, there were 91,634 apprentices active in Ontario as of April 3, 2023.
Last year, Ontario supported 95 new pre-apprenticeship program projects, which are free for participants and combine classroom training with on-the-job learning. The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) now has more than 72 recruiters across 800 schools so students can learn about the skilled trades at a younger age.
The Ontario government reported a 24% increase in apprenticeship registrations in 2023 compared to the previous year – from 21,971 to 27,319 – as more people decided to pursue careers in the skilled trades.