Investing in Ontario’s Trades Future:...

Investing in Ontario’s Trades Future: $90 Million in Three Years to Promote OYAP to Ontario Youths

by Meghan Brown
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

The trades have been one of the fastest growing employment segments for many years, and by 2025 as many as 1 in 5 Ontario jobs are anticipated to be in the skilled trades.  But the trades are also experiencing a growing employment gap: nearly a third of currently employed tradespeople are nearing the age of retirement, which is expected to lead to significant shortfalls across many of Ontario’s 144 skilled trades in multiple industries.  The natural resources and construction industries are expected to see particularly significant growth over the next 5 to 10 years.

The key to mitigating this impending employment gap relies on bringing greater numbers of young workers into the trades.  To this end, in late 2021 the Ontario government announced new investments in the skilled trades, specifically with an additional $90 million over three years intended to promote the skilled trades to students and youth.

The investments come in response to the Apprenticeship Youth Advisors Report released by the province, which includes recommendations for how the province can address the employment gap, including:

  • Improving the transition of students in high school and college into trades and apprenticeships.
  • Addressing the lack of diversity in the apprenticeship system by encouraging underrepresented groups to pursue the trades, including women, BIPOC people, newcomers to Canada, Francophone Canadians, and people with disabilities.
  • Modernizing the skilled trades education and apprenticeship system.
  • Improving methods and systems to connect trades employers, trades workers, and active job seekers.

Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, emphasized the importance of the trades for both individuals and the province during the announcement.  “When you have a job in the skilled trades, you have a job for life.  Ontario’s trades are the backbone of our economy. More young people need to know that a job in the trades opens doors to bigger paycheques, with a pension and benefits. The trades can be their ticket to building a better life, strong family, and a stronger community for us all.”

The announcement also included news of an additional $2.9 million investment (bringing the annual total to $20 million) toward expanding the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP).

OYAP is a program targeted toward students and young adults in high school that helps introduce students to a variety of skilled trade and apprenticeship-based careers through Cooperative Education opportunities.  Cooperative Education programs are an ideal way to bring students into the trades, because the hands-on nature of the experience lets students get a true feel for the job.  Hands-on learning is also known to increase retention, build skills faster, and to help students find the career that suits them best.

The news of these new investments follows an announcement earlier in 2021 regarding the establishment of Skilled Trades Ontario, set to replace the previous Ontario College of Trades, and intended to modernize and streamline the apprenticeship and training process.  Skilled Trades Ontario will become a central authority for the promotion and development of apprenticeship training and curricula, as well as the apprenticeship process from registration, education, certification, and assessments.



Bright, Logan. “Ontario Investing $90 Million for Skilled Trades and Apprenticeships.” SchoolFinder. https://www.schoolfinder.com/Discover/Article/1/5677/Ontario-Investing-$90-Million-for-Skilled-Trades-and-Apprenticeships

Ontario.ca. “Ontario Making Additional Investment to Attract Young People to Skilled Trades Careers.” https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1001214/ontario-making-additional-investment-to-attract-young-people-to-skilled-trades-careers

Ontario.ca. “Supporting an accessible and inclusive skilled trades and apprenticeship system in Ontario.” https://www.ontario.ca/document/supporting-accessible-and-inclusive-skilled-trades-and-apprenticeship-system-ontario

Ontario.ca. “Ontario to Modernize and Streamline Apprenticeship Training.” https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1000078/ontario-to-modernize-and-streamline-apprenticeship-training

Ontario.ca. “Skilled trades.” https://www.ontario.ca/page/skilled-trades

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program. https://oyap.com/


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