Government of Canada invests in training to help Canadians become certified in the skilled trades

News release

February 17, 2021              Delta, British Columbia              Employment and Social Development Canada

In order to help maintain a robust workforce and better position our country for a strong economic recovery, the Government of Canada is investing in the skilled trades to ensure that Canadians have the training they need to access good, well-paying jobs. The Government is making targeted investments, so that key groups facing barriers—like women, newcomers, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and Black and racialized Canadians—can better find work in the skilled trades through projects led by unions and their partner organizations.

Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced $63.5 million, over five years, for 68 projects as part of the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) 2020 call for proposals. This investment will help certify skilled tradespeople and prepare them to fill available jobs as the economy restarts. Minister Qualtrough made the announcement during a virtual event hosted by one of the funding recipients, the UA Piping Industry College of British Columbia, in Delta, B.C.

The UA Piping Industry College of British Columbia is receiving close to $9 million over five years from 2021 to 2026 for its Inclusion in the Trades from Upgrading to Red Seal Certification project. This initiative will help more than 500 apprentices—including more than 300 from key groups facing barriers—successfully enter and complete their training through programing focused on skills improvement. The college will also work to eliminate barriers, such as accessibility and distance to training, and build partnerships with community stakeholders that will lead to better apprenticeship outcomes.  

The UTIP supports union-based apprenticeship training and works to reduce barriers to participation and success in Red Seal trades. The first stream, Investments in Training Equipment, helps unions across Canada improve the quality of training through investments in equipment and materials. The second stream, Innovation in Apprenticeship, supports innovation and strengthened partnerships to address challenges that are limiting apprenticeship outcomes in Canada.

In the 2020 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada committed to making historic investments in training and to creating more than 1 million jobs to get Canadians back to work, restoring employment to pre-pandemic levels. Providing immediate and comprehensive training through initiatives like the UTIP will help achieve these goals.


“As we continue to fight this virus, our support for workers remains strong. Skilled tradespeople across the country have been critical to essential sectors during this pandemic, and they will continue to be so as Canada moves toward economic recovery. This investment will help Canadians, including Canadians from key groups facing barriers, get the training they need to launch exciting and well-paying careers in the trades.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

“The UA Piping Industry College of British Columbia and UA Local 170 are pleased to be awarded $9 million in UTIP funding from the federal government. This funding will allow us to continue supporting underrepresented groups in the trades and help bring training to communities around the province of British Columbia. We are very excited to get to work with this new funding and hopefully open new doors of prospect and opportunity to people throughout the province who would not have had this opportunity in the past.”
– William Schwarz, Director of Operations, UA Piping Industry College of British Columbia


Quick facts

  • Through the UTIP, the Government of Canada provides $25 million annually to support union-based apprenticeship training, innovation and enhanced partnerships in the Red Seal trades.

  • Demand for skilled tradespeople is expected to remain strong as the economy moves toward recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 2019 and 2028, about 700,000 skilled trades workers are also expected to retire. Meeting these demands will require the recruitment and training of thousands of additional skilled workers.

  • Young women continue to be less likely to express interest in a career in the skilled trades. According to an OECD survey, only 2% of 15-year-old female students indicated they were planning to pursue a career in the skilled trades.

  • The Government of Canada invests significantly in apprenticeships through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training, project funding and support for the Red Seal program. The Government is also working with the provinces and territories to harmonize apprenticeship training requirements in targeted Red Seal trades. 

  • The Government of Canada has invested approximately $12 million in union training and innovation programming that must be delivered in Quebec along the same parameters as in the rest of Canada through the Investments in Training Equipment Stream (Stream 1) and the Innovation in Apprenticeship Stream (Stream 2).

  • Funding in Quebec under this agreement is primarily allocated toward Quebec’s educational system as it relates specifically to training, while the Government of Quebec is investing $10 million to support the objectives of the UTIP. 

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Marielle Hossack
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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