With job vacancies at record levels, Ottawa will spend nearly $247 million to create more than 25,000 apprenticeship positions in the skilled trades across Canada.
The money will support 13 programs to help small- and medium-sized employers offer apprenticeship training, according to Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough. More than $45 million of the total has been earmarked for the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum to help hire 4,000 first-year apprentices in the construction and manufacturing trades.
Ottawa says employers would be eligible for double the money if they hire certain equity-seeking groups such as women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people and racialized people.
The need for new people in skilled trades position is dire because 700,000 skilled trades workers are expected to retire in Canada by 2028. The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum says in the news release that in order to meet demand for skilled workers, an average of 75,000 new apprentices will need to be hired per year over the next five years.
“We need Canadians to be able to seize these opportunities and to have the tools, training and resources they need to thrive,” Qualtrough said. “Apprenticeships are one of the best ways to do that.”
Welders and industrial mechanics are among the most sought-after tradespeople.
Looking at the overall Canadian economy, employers were seeking to fill more than one million positions at the beginning of March, an increase of 60.5 per cent from the prior year. The non-seasonally adjusted job vacancy rate, which measures the number of vacant positions as a proportion of all positions, was 5.9 per cent in March, matching the record high in September 2021.