Evaluation of the Canada Apprentice Loan - Phase 1 – Summary

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Starting January 2015, the Government of Canada began disbursing the Canada Apprentice Loan (CAL) to help more apprentices in Red Seal trades complete their training and to encourage more Canadians to consider a career in the skilled trades.

CAL provides:

  • Up to $4,000 per period of full-time technical training for eligible apprentices
  • Eligibility for the Repayment Assistance Plan for those facing financial difficulties in loan repayment

Other support measures for apprentices offered by the Government of Canada include Apprenticeship Grants, Employment Insurance benefits, tax deductions and credits, and the Skills Development-Apprenticeship Program.

Provincial and territorial supports for apprentices also exist and vary by jurisdiction.

Phase 1 Evaluation Findings

The Phase 1 of this evaluation used a multiple lines of evidence approach including a document review, key informant interviews, an administrative data analysis, and focus groups and summarizes findings related to program relevance, awareness and delivery, CAL use and CAL administrative costs. Phase 2 will focus on program impacts and loan repayment outcomes and will be completed in March 2020.

  • There is a need for the CAL, as it is timely and helps cover the technical training costs of apprentices. Some apprentices would have been unable to attend training without this loan
  • In 2015, 20,236 loan applications were submitted and 75.6% (15,289) were approved, leading to a disbursement totaling $58.8 million
  • The average disbursement amount was $3,845, suggesting that a majority applied for the $4,000 maximum
  • 41% of eligible apprentices received a CAL loan in 2015
  • Program implementation went well, with few (if any) issues. Participants found the application process to be simple
  • Apprentice awareness and understanding of the program could be improved


  • Respond to innovation in the delivery of technical training (e.g. online training)
  • Program stakeholders would benefit from receiving more detailed information on loan repayment terms

Please view the Evaluation reports for published evaluations.

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