New Partnership to Create 5,200 Apprenticeships in Atlantic Canada

Tara Beauport

The skilled trades are essential to Canada’s economy. Few industries are as vital to Canadians’ everyday lives. Smart investments are needed to support Canadians from all backgrounds in taking up apprenticeship training now and to help kick-start lucrative careers in well-respected skilled trades.

“Skilled trades are at the forefront of Nova Scotia’s growing, vibrant economy,” said Jill Balser, Nova Scotia Minister for Labour, Skills and Immigration. “This investment from Employment and Social Development Canada will help meet our labour market needs and foster a strong, diverse, and highly skilled workforce now and into the future. In addition to providing financial support to small and medium-sized businesses to hire first-year apprentices in Red Seal trades, this program will provide employers with training and support to create welcoming and inclusive workplaces for all.”

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, was in Truro, Nova Scotia, to announce over $28 million for the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency’s Apprenticeship START Plus Project. The project will provide financial support to SMEs in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador to hire a minimum of 5,200 first-year apprentices in eligible Red Seal trades over the next two years. This includes a minimum of 1,190 first-year apprentices from equity-deserving groups such as women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people and racialized people.

“Canada needs more skilled trades workers. We need more women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, racialized Canadians and other traditionally marginalized people to get into the skilled trades,” said Qualtrough. “That’s why the Apprenticeship Service program is so critical. It’s helping more and more Canadians seize these great job opportunities, and it’s making sure businesses have the skilled workers they need to thrive.”

First-year apprentices in eligible Red Seal trades will get the hands-on experience and training they need to progress toward becoming certified journeypersons in the Red Seal trades as a result of connecting with these job opportunities. The organizations being funded under the Apprenticeship Service will distribute financial incentives to SMEs and provide additional support, such as help navigating the apprenticeship system. They will also develop training for SMEs to help them onboard apprentices and create welcoming and inclusive workplaces. To help Canadians facing barriers to a career in the skilled trades, the incentives are doubled for SMEs who hire from equity-deserving groups.

“As Canada continues its economic recovery from the pandemic, we need to address our labour shortage and find ways to increase the number of Canadians working in the skilled trades,” said The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “Our Government is focused on promoting and retaining hardworking Canadians in the skilled trades through the Apprenticeship START Plus Project, which will create thousands of opportunities for first-year apprentices across Atlantic Canada. Not only does this project provide valuable work experience, but it also helps local SMEs hire additional staff, benefitting communities across the region.”

The announcement builds on the 13 Apprenticeship Service projects announced by Minister Qualtrough in May 2022. It also builds on the project announced by the Honourable Kamal Khera, Minister of Seniors, on August 24, 2022, which will support new apprenticeship positions across Canada. To date, the Government has invested $306 million in 15 projects that will enable SMEs to create over 32,000 new apprenticeship positions across Canada.

“Our economy and our communities depend on skilled trades workers,” said Kody Blois, Member of Parliament for Kings–Hants. “That’s why we’re creating thousands of apprenticeships here in Nova Scotia and across Atlantic Canada, so more people can learn a trade while they earn a living. That’s how we’re going to make sure we have more electricians, welders, bricklayers and other skilled trades workers.”

The Government of Canada is investing nearly $1 billion annually in apprenticeship supports through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training, project funding, and support for the Red Seal program. Announced in Budget 2019, the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy will strengthen existing apprenticeship supports and programs by helping apprentices and key apprenticeship stakeholders, including employers, to participate and succeed in the skilled trades.

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