Ford Government Unveils Plan for Modern, Dynamic Skills Training and Apprenticeship System in 2019 Ontario Budget

Toronto (April 11, 2019) – The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) welcomes the Ford government’s plan for a “modernized, client-focused” apprenticeship and skilled trades training system, outlined today in its 2019 Budget. The ground-breaking plan includes initiatives to transform the governance and delivery of Ontario’s apprenticeship system, and a bold vision to enable more flexible training and certification in a full trade or in a portable skill set.

“The Ford government has shown in this budget that it understands the challenges facing Ontario’s construction and skilled trades sectors,” said Sean Reid, PCA’s Vice President and Regional Director, Ontario. “PCA has for years been calling for a new approach to apprenticeship and skilled trades training in Ontario. We need a system that is less bureaucratic, more focused on job-ready skills for workers, and more responsive to shifting market needs. This budget shows that the Ford government is answering our call.”

PCA was particularly pleased to see the following initiatives announced in the 2019 Ontario Budget:

  • A new governance framework for Ontario’s apprenticeship and skilled trades training system through proposed new legislation to replace the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009;
  • A new, flexible framework to allow full trade and portable skill set training and certification within and between trades;
  • A new financial incentive program to support employers to come together and train apprentices; and
  • A new commitment to promote apprenticeships and the skilled trades as a pathway choice for all students from kindergarten to Grade 12.

“For too long, Ontario students have been told that a skilled trades job is a dirty, dead-end job,” continued Reid. “The Ford government should be commended for taking steps to end this stigma, and cultivate a true parity of esteem for the trades alongside other career paths within our school system.”

Other 2019 Ontario Budget initiatives welcomed by PCA include:

  • A Health Capital Investment of $17 billion in capital grants over the next 10 years to modernize and increase capacity at hospitals, and address urgent issues;
  • Almost $13 billion in capital grants over a 10-year period to help build new schools in high-growth areas and improve the condition of existing schools; and
  • Cutting red tape and ending the delays that block the development of the Ring of Fire area by working with willing partners to ensure sustainable development in the North.

PCA also supports Ontario’s call on the federal government to provide adequate funding for skills and training programs through federal-provincial labour market transfers.

“Implementing the kind of transformation to Ontario’s skills training and apprenticeship system that the Ford government announced today won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight,” said Reid. “It will take careful thought, strong leadership and the full engagement of all voices across our industry. PCA looks forward to working with the Ford government to make its vision for skills training and apprenticeship a reality.”

About the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA)

PCA is the voice of progressive unionized employers in Canada’s construction industry. PCA member companies employ more than 25,000 skilled construction workers across Canada, represented primarily by CLAC. 

For further information, contact:

Danna O’Brien, 416-500-0699

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