Backgrounder: Investment in apprenticeship


The Government of Canada invests significantly in apprenticeship through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training and project funding, such as for Union Training and Innovation Program projects.

Women in Construction Fund

Budget 2018 announced the Women in Construction Fund with an investment of $10 million over three years to increase the participation of women in construction trades by helping them progress through their training and retain jobs in the trades.

The Women in Construction Fund, which is expected to benefit approximately 2,000 women over three years, supports projects that target the Red Seal construction trades and focus on:

  •  attracting and recruiting women into the trades (e.g. site visits, hands-on experiences and career exploration
  • supporting apprentice training and skills development through upgrading of essential skills and a continuum of tailored services for women (e.g. child care, transportation, purchase of tools, coaching and mentoring); and
  • supporting employers by developing recruitment and retention tools and supports based on best practices for inclusive and respectful workplaces.

A wide range of organizations and partnerships are eligible for the program, including women’s non‑profit organizations, employer and industry associations, unions, training providers, and provinces and territories.

Three-year projects were solicited in 2018 through a targeted solicitation process with a wide range of organizations and partners eligible for this program, including women’s non‑profit organizations, employer and industry associations, unions, training providers, and provinces and territories. Projects are currently underway.

Union Training and Innovation Program

Through a $25 million annual investment, the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP):

  • helps unions improve the quality of training through investments in up-to-date training equipment and materials;
  • supports innovative approaches and partnerships with other stakeholders to address challenges limiting apprenticeship outcomes; and
  • reduces barriers to participation and success in the trades for key groups including women and Indigenous people.

UTIP has two streams:

  1. The Investments in Training Equipment Stream (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.
  2. The Innovation in Apprenticeship Stream (Stream 2) focuses on innovative approaches to 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 has approved 109 UTIP projects, including 34 in 2017–18 and 75 in 2018–19.

Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program

Budget 2018 announced the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program to encourage Canadians—including those who face barriers, such as women, Indigenous people, newcomers, people with disabilities and youth—to explore and prepare for careers in the skilled trades.

The program supports pre-apprenticeship training, including:

  •  Career exploration opportunities to build awareness of the trades as a viable, good‑quality careers through means such as “try a trade” events, career fairs, job shadowing and mentorships.
  • Skills training to help participants upgrade their essential skills, such as literacy and numeracy, and technical skills so they are ready for apprenticeship training.
  • Work experience to explore the trades with hands-on job experience, form connections with employers, and increase employment readiness.

Budget 2019

To further support the skilled trades, the Government proposed in Budget 2019, additional new investments:

  • $40 million over four years in funding for Skills Canada, starting in 2020–21, and
  • $10 million per year ongoing to encourage more young people to consider training and work in the skilled trades;
  • $6 million over two years, starting in 2019–20, to create a national campaign to promote the skilled trades as a first-choice career for young people;
  • a new Apprenticeship Strategy to ensure that existing supports and programs available to apprentices address the barriers faced by those who want to work in the skilled trades and support employers who face challenges in hiring and retaining apprentices;
  • a lower interest rate on Canada Apprentice Loans, starting in 2019–20, and making the first six months after a borrower completes their apprenticeship training interest-free; and
  • the new Canada Training Benefit, which would give workers money to help pay for training, provide income support during training, and offer job protection so that workers can take the time they need to keep their skills relevant and in demand.

Apprenticeship Grants

Since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Grants, almost 834,000 grants have been issued to Canadians, representing over $1 billion in funding. This includes:

  • over 592,000 Apprenticeship Incentive Grants;
  • over 1,500 Apprenticeship Incentive Grants for Women; and
  • 240,400 Apprenticeship Completion Grants.

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

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: