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Ontario sees historic success in meeting construction labour needs with skilled trades initiatives

June 22, 2023  By Rock to Road Staff

(Photo credit: Tund, Adobe Stock)

TORONTO, Ont. – The Government of Ontario hopes booming apprentice enrollments will help combat industry labour shortages.

Increased efforts from the government to promote training and education in the skilled trades saw enrolment in these programs grow by an unprecedented 24 per cent over the last 12 months.

This growth follows the government’s pledge to invest over $1 billion into skilled trades over the next three years, with this investment being distributed amongst a number of initiatives to grow the labour force across numerous trades.

These initiatives hope to accommodate the increased focus on infrastructure investments that the Ontario government has made a priority of their administration.


Marc Arsenault, business manager for the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, highlighted the importance of building a labour force equipped to deal with current infrastructure plans.

“Attracting new talent to the skilled trades is the first step in securing Ontario’s infrastructure needs,” he said. “Our Council will continue to work collaboratively with employers and government to strengthen construction apprenticeship training from registration to completion, in order to generate the next wave of skilled Journeypersons that our economy depends on.”

A 2023 report by Buildforce Canada emphasized Ontario’s acute demand for new workers in the construction trades. Current project demands, combined with an estimated 18 per cent of the workforce set to age out of the industry, has pushed hiring needs to require 119,000 new labourers between 2023 and 2032.

The skilled trades training investments Ontario is making in reaction to these needs include the launch of the Skilled Trades Ontario recruitment agency and skilled trade career fairs held across the province.

These fairs, which began last year, feature interactive exhibitions and hands-on activities moderated by local tradespeople and employers. Last year’s events saw a total of 12,800 attendees, including students, teachers and parents in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, London, Mississauga and Ottawa.

Ontario is also supporting 95 new pre-apprenticeship programs that provide classes and on-site training to participants free of cost. The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, which has expanded to over 72 recruiters across 800 schools, provides skilled trade information targeted to those at a younger age.

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