Backgrounder: The Union Training and Innovation Program


The Union Training and Innovation Program

The Union Training and Innovation Program, which was launched last year, targets the Red Seal trades and involves broad-based partnerships with a number of stakeholders. The Program provides $25 million annually to:

  • help improve the quality of training through investments in equipment;
  • support innovative approaches and partnerships with other stakeholders; and
  • reduce barriers to participation and success in the trades for key groups including women, Indigenous people, newcomers and people with disabilities.

The Program, which has two streams, is open to all unions, including those that do not provide training recognized by provinces and territories as technical apprenticeship training, and those that do not operate training facilities.

  • Stream 1 helps unions purchase new and up-to-date training equipment. Continuous technological change puts pressure on training providers to ensure workers are developing the right skills needed on the job site.

  • Stream 2 focuses on innovative approaches to help address challenges limiting apprenticeship outcomes, including barriers to participation and success in the trades for key groups such as women and Indigenous people. This stream is open to a range of stakeholders and partners, but unions need to be involved, either as the lead or as a partner on projects.

The Government of Canada is investing significantly (approximately $700 million annually) in apprenticeship through grants, loans, tax credits, project funding, support for the Red Seal program and Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training. The Government is also working with the provinces and territories to harmonize apprenticeship training requirements in Red Seal trades.

Budget 2018 investments in skilled trades

Budget 2018 announced three new initiatives to help apprentices succeed:

  • Starting in 2018–19, $46 million will be invested over five years, with $10 million per year thereafter, for a new Pre‑Apprenticeship program to help Canadians—including those who face barriers, such as women, Indigenous people, newcomers, people with disabilities and youth—explore the trades, gain work experience, make informed career choices and develop the skills needed to find and keep good, well-paying jobs in the trades.

  • Starting in 2018–19, approximately $20 million over five years will be invested to support an Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women, a five-year pilot project where women in Red Seal trades that have low female representation would receive a new grant of $3,000 for each of their first two years of training. This, in combination with the existing Apprenticeship Completion Grant valued at $2,000, will result in a total of $8,000 in support over the course of their training.

  • Starting in 2018–19, $10 million will be invested over three years for the new Women in Construction Fund, which will build on existing models that have proven to be effective in attracting women to the trades. These models provide supports such as mentoring, coaching and tailored supports that help women progress through their training and find and retain jobs in the trades.
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