Government of Canada announces funding for innovative project to help apprentices in Waterloo region complete their training and find work in the skilled trades

News release

July 4, 2019              Breslau, Ontario              Employment and Social Development Canada

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, middle-class jobs, and the Government of Canada is committed to supporting key groups, such as women, Indigenous people, newcomers and persons with disabilities, to work in the skilled trades through funding for projects led by unions and other organizations.

That is why today, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced that the Government of Canada is providing close to $5.5 million to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 804 for its Pre-Apprentice Training and Retention Innovative Learning Program project. Minister Chagger made the announcement together with Members of Parliament Raj Saini, Marwan Tabbara and Lloyd Longfield.

The Government is investing $25 million annually in the Union Training and Innovation Program through two streams:

  • Stream 1: Investments in Training Equipment Stream; and
  • Stream 2: Innovation in Apprenticeship Stream.

Projects help unions across Canada improve the quality of training through investments for equipment and materials, and support innovation and enhanced partnerships to address long-standing challenges that limit apprenticeship outcomes in Canada. As a result of these investments, more apprentices will be able to develop their skills, complete their training and find good, well-paying jobs.

Through this project funded under the Innovation in Apprenticeship Stream of the Union Training and Innovation Program, IBEW Local 804 will train a total of 240 electrical trade apprentices. It will create an interactive and accessible learning platform and work in partnership with organizations that promote the electrical trade. Participants will benefit from 11 weeks of classroom training, including hands-on practical learning, followed by 17 weeks of on-the-job training with a contractor. Beneficiaries include existing IBEW member and members that will relocate to the Waterloo region.

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.


“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 apprentices in the Waterloo region, and especially those who face additional barriers to participate and succeed in the skilled trades. The goal is to help all Canadians launch exciting, fulfilling careers in the trades.”
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

“The Union Training and Innovation Program will help new generations of workers benefit from the mentorship and training that unions and other training organizations are so well equipped to offer. Through this project in the Waterloo region, our government is building stronger communities and strengthening the middle class.”
– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

“This investment is wonderful news for the Waterloo Region community and will unlock opportunities for underrepresented groups to participate more fully in the skilled trades.  Supporting the skilled trades through investments in apprenticeship training will help everyone in our community compete, succeed and thrive in a rapidly changing economy.”  
Raj Saini, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre

 “Prior to politics, I worked as an electrical apprentice. I understand how vital investments like these are for not only for IBEW, but for employers, apprentices and our community.”
Marwan Tabbara, Member of Parliament for Kitchener South—Hespeler

“Skilled trades are critical to meet the growth in our region, which is faced with the lowest unemployment in Canada, and Canada has its lowest unemployment in over 40 years.  Labour is providing a pathway for apprenticeships, working locally with Conestoga College. The IBEW is a key partner in connecting labour with business, building prosperity locally and across Canada.”
– Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph

 “Funding received through UTIP benefits employers and apprentices alike and will help us continue to expand upon our inclusion and diversity objectives. It will enable us to train the next generation of electrical tradespeople through traditional hands-on and new innovative online learning, as well as on-the-job experience.  In turn, employers are able to hire employees that have in-demand skills. In the Waterloo region, this means that 240 apprentices will be ready to enter the labour market, find well-paying jobs with our ECACO partners, and contribute to the local economy.”
– Mark Watson, Business Manager and Financial Secretary for IBEW Local 804

Quick facts

  • 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.

  • To further support key groups facing barriers so they can succeed in the skilled trades, the Government of Canada launched the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women. This new grant provides $3,000 per year or level, up to a maximum amount of $6,000, to registered apprentices who have successfully completed their first or second year/level of an apprenticeship program in eligible Red Seal trades.

  • This, in combination with the existing Apprenticeship Completion Grant valued at $2,000, could result in combined grant support of up to $8,000 over the course of their training. Eligible apprentices can apply by visiting

  • In addition to the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women, Budget 2018 announced two other initiatives to help apprentices succeed:

    • the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness (STAR) Program with $46 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, and $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; and
    • the Women in Construction Fund with $10 million over three years, starting in 2018–19, to support projects building on existing models that have proven to be effective in attracting women to the trades, such as mentoring, coaching and tailored supports.
  • To further support the skilled trades, the Government proposed several new measures in Budget 2019:

    • $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.

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For media enquiries, please contact:
Véronique Simard
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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