Government Invests To Boost Skilled Trades

Daniel Pollak

The Government of Canada is making targeted investments to create good jobs, grow our economy, and build towards a net-zero emissions future.

Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Labor addressed Canada’s Building Trades Unions Annual Conference in Ottawa. In his address, the Minister spoke about the government’s support for workers in the skilled trades and construction industries, including new measures and funding under Budget 2022, creating sustainable jobs, and how the government will move toward a low-carbon economy. The event brought together provincial leaders, industry leaders from the construction and energy sectors, and business managers to discuss the industry challenges and opportunities. 

“Canada’s Building Trades Unions’ applauds the Government of Canada for its support for skilled trades workers in Budget 2022,” said Executive Director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions, Sean Strickland. “The Labour Mobility Tax Deduction for Tradespeople is something we have advocated for over two decades and will support working Canadians and families travel to where the work is, helping to address labour availability across the country.”

The government is working to improve labour availability by supporting tradespeople to take up jobs across Canada. In Budget 2022, the government committed to introducing the new Labour Mobility Deduction, which would provide tax recognition on up to $4,000 per year in eligible travel and temporary relocation expenses to eligible tradespersons and apprentices. This measure would apply to the 2022 and subsequent taxation years. 

The government has also committed to increasing funding for the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP). Irek Kusmierczyk, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, on behalf of Minister of Employment Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced to provide over $7 million in funding for 29 projects under Stream 1 of the UTIP. These projects will help unions across Canada improve the quality of training through investments in equipment and materials, leading to a more skilled, inclusive, certified, and productive trades workforce. 

“The doubling of UTIP – which has already been immensely helpful in its first few years of operations – further supports training and education, ensuring we are able to deliver the workforce of tomorrow,” said Strickland. “We are proud to celebrate these policies at our ‘Stronger Together’ conference, which speaks to the challenges we’ve faced over the last several years and the strength of our workforce, who build Canada’s infrastructure. CBTU knows that together, we’re stronger now than we’ve ever been.” 

Budget 2022 invests in helping apprentices from underrepresented groups succeed in careers in the skilled trades through mentorship, career services, and job-matching. It also proposes to launch a new union-led advisory table, bringing together unions and trade associations to advise the government on priority investments to help workers with a particular focus on skilled mid-career workers in at-risk sectors and jobs. 

“The challenge before us is enormous, but so is the opportunity. Canada has a labour shortage, so we’re making it more affordable for trades workers and their apprentices to go where the jobs are,” said O’Regan. “If we’re going to lower emissions, if we’re going to build more affordable housing—these are the men and women who can do it.”

To highlight the value of skilled trades workers and the wide range of supports available to build a successful and fulfilling career in the trades, the government launched an advertising campaign earlier this year to promote the skilled trades as first-choice careers for young people and diverse populations. The campaign website provides Canadians with information about skilled trades, how to become a tradesperson, and what financial supports are available to them while in training.

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