Government of Canada announces funding to help Indigenous apprentices in New Brunswick complete their training

News release

March 13, 2019       Saint John, New Brunswick           Employment and Social Development Canada

As the economy grows, so do opportunities for employment. Giving every Canadian a real and fair chance at success means helping them get the skills and training they need to succeed in a changing economy. The skilled trades are good, well-paying jobs, and the Government of Canada is committed to supporting key groups, such as Indigenous people, women, newcomers and those with disabilities, to work in the skilled trades through funding for projects led by unions and other organizations.

That is why today, Wayne Long, Member of Parliament for Saint John–Rothesay, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced that the Government of Canada is providing funding of $1,039,216 to MAP Strategic Workforce Services Inc. (MAPSWS) for its First in Trades program.

In collaboration with its program partners, the New Brunswick Building Trades Unions and Joint Economic Development Initiative, MAPSWS endeavours to increase New Brunswick union diversity through Indigenous recruitment within the 14 affiliate unions of the New Brunswick Building Trades Unions. By opening 18 to 20 Indigenous apprenticeship positions within these unions and establishing an Indigenous New Brunswick construction sector support model—intended to increase participation by both female and male Indigenous apprentices, as well as increase program progression and completion rates for the Indigenous apprentices—the First in Trades program will help establish and refine effective workplace strategies and cultural requirements within the New Brunswick construction sector that will help sustain increased Indigenous participation well into the future.

As Canada’s economy continues to grow and create skilled trade jobs, the Government is committed to ensuring that all Canadians share in and benefit from this success.


“Canada’s future success depends on building an economy that is as inclusive as it is innovative. That’s why our government is investing in this project that will help Indigenous apprentices in New Brunswick, and especially those who face additional barriers, to participate, succeed and start exciting and well-paying careers in the skilled trades.”
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

“The retirement transition in Canada’s construction skilled trades workforce represents a significant opportunity to diversify and be more inclusive, as well as increase union density, which represents a higher standard of living for construction journeypersons and apprentices alike. The First in Trades Program will help Indigenous workers benefit from the mentorship and training that unions and other training organizations are so well equipped to offer. Through this project, our government is building stronger communities and building capacity within New Brunswick’s Indigenous communities.”
– Wayne Long, Member of Parliament for Saint John–Rothesay

“According to BuildForce Canada, 254,800 highly experienced construction skilled trades workers will retire in Canada over the next 10 years, with 7,400 construction workers expected to retire in New Brunswick alone. With a limited number of entrants expected to be locally available, the industry will likely need to recruit additional workers from outside the local market. We are excited to have MAP Strategic Workforce Services lead the First in Trades program, break down barriers, open up opportunities, provide meaningful mentorship and training opportunities for New Brunswick’s Indigenous people, and increase Indigenous membership in the New Brunswick Building Trades Unions.”
– Hélène Savoie-Louis, Director, MAP Strategic Workforce Services Inc

Quick facts

  • The Indigenous population is young and the fastest growing in Canada. Over the next decade, about 400,000 young Indigenous people are expected to join the Indigenous working-age population. For the same time period, the Indigenous labour force aged 25 to 64 will grow four times more than the non-Indigenous labour force of the same age (Employment and Social Development Canada 2016). In New Brunswick, 4 in 10 (42%) Indigenous people are under the age of 25, compared with 27% of the non-Indigenous population (Statistics Canada 2016).

  • In 2018, women employed in New Brunswick represented 49% of the province’s total labour force. In the province’s construction and maintenance industry, however, women represented only 2.1% of the labour force employed in direct on-site project construction. Similarly, Indigenous Canadians were also under‑represented in the industry, accounting for little more than 2.7% of the province’s construction labour force (BuildForce Canada 2019).

  • The Government of Canada has a long history of developing and delivering employment and skills training programs with Indigenous communities and organizations. The Union Training and Innovation Program provides $25 million annually to support union-based apprenticeship training, innovation and enhanced partnerships in the Red Seal trades.

  • The Government of Canada makes significant investments in apprenticeship and the skilled trades through the Red Seal program and other federal supports for apprenticeship. These include grants, loans and tax credits and Employment Insurance benefits during in-school technical training.

  • Since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Grants program, approximately 816,000 grants have been issued to apprentices, representing over $1 billion in funding.

  • The 2018 Budget announced a pre-apprenticeship program with $46 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, with $10 million per year ongoing, to encourage groups facing barriers to explore careers in the trades, gain work experience, make informed career choices and develop the skills needed for the trades.

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For media enquiries, please contact:
Karen Gillam
First in Trades Project Coordinator
MAP Strategic Workforce Services Inc.; 506-658-8282

Nora Robinson
Office of Wayne Long; 506-343-2938

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada; 819-994-5559; Follow us on Twitter

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