Backgrounder: Government of Canada investments in the skilled trades


The Government of Canada invests significantly in apprenticeship through a number of means, including grants, loans, tax credits, as well as Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training and project funding.

These investments include:

Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness Program

In Budget 2018, we announced $46 million over five years to encourage all Canadians—including those who face barriers, such as women, Indigenous peoples, newcomers, people with disabilities, and youth—to explore and prepare for careers in the skilled trades.

The Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness Program supports pre-apprenticeship training including:

  • Career exploration opportunities to build awareness of the skilled trades as a viable, good-quality careers through means such as skilled trades jobs simulation 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 skilled trades with hands-on job experience, form connections with employers, and increase employment readiness.

The Government of Canada solicited projects in 2018 through a targeted process with a wide range of organizations eligible for this program. To date, nine projects are 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.
  • reduces barriers to participation and success in the skilled trades for key groups, including women and Indigenous peoples.

The Government of Canada has approved 109 UTIP projects, including 34 in 2017–18 and 75 in 2018–19.

Women in Construction Fund

In Budget 2018, we 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 complete their training and retain jobs in the trades.

The Women in Construction Fund, which is expected to benefit approximately 2,800 women over three years, supports projects that target the Red Seal construction trades. They focus on:

  • attracting and recruiting women into the trades (e.g. site visits, hands-on experiences, and career exploration).
  • supporting apprenticeship training and skills development through upgrading essential skills and providing a continuum of tailored services for women (e.g. child care, transportation, purchase of tools, coaching, and mentoring).
  • 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.

The Government of Canada solicited three-year projects in 2018 through a targeted process with a wide range of organizations and partners eligible for this program. Four projects are currently underway.

Apprenticeship grants

The Government of Canada provides three kinds of apprenticeship grants: the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant, the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women, and the Apprenticeship Completion Grant.

Since the introduction of the apprenticeship grants, the Government of Canada has provided almost 853,300 grants to Canadians. This represents over $1.1 billion in funding, including:

  • over 603,600 Apprenticeship Incentive Grants.
  • over 2,300 Apprenticeship Incentive Grants for Women.
  • 247,400 Apprenticeship Completion Grants.

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