Government of Canada invests to improve the participation of equity-deserving groups in the skilled trades  

News release

October 12, 2022          Gatineau, Quebec                  Employment and Social Development Canada 

Women choose a career in the skilled trades less frequently than men, and they face increased barriers in their apprenticeship training. With the demand for skilled tradespeople at an all-time high, the Government of Canada is making targeted investments aimed at developing a diverse and inclusive skilled trades workforce that will help more Canadians—including women—build good, well-paying careers.

Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced two calls for proposals aimed at helping equity-deserving groups, including women, get the apprenticeship training and support they need to enter the skilled trades workforce.

Under Stream 2 (Innovation in Apprenticeship) of the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP), the Government of Canada is investing up to $55 million over five years, beginning in 2023–2024. This will help fund projects that seek to improve the participation of apprentices in Red Seal trades who are women, newcomers, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, and racialized individuals, including through mentorship, career services and job matching. This call for proposals also seeks projects that will support the development of environmental skills for Canada’s transition to a clean economy.

Under the Women in Skilled Trades Initiative, the Government is investing up to $43.5 million over four years, beginning in 2023–2024, to support projects that aim to recruit and retain women apprentices in 39 eligible Red Seal trades found predominantly in the construction and manufacturing sectors. This new investment is a continuation of the Government’s support for women in the skilled trades. These projects will offer tailored supports to women as the temporary measures of the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women (ending in March 2023) and the Women in Construction Fund (ended in March 2022) come to their scheduled ends.

Both calls for proposals open on October 12, 2022, and close on December 1, 2022. Eligible organizations are unions representing workers in the Red Seal trades, not-for-profit and for-profit organizations, Indigenous organizations, municipal governments, and provincial and territorial governments, agencies, institutions and Crown Corporations. 

The Government of Canada invests nearly $1 billion annually in apprenticeship supports through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training, project funding, and support for the Red Seal program. The UTIP Stream 2 call for proposals is expected to support approximately 18,300 Red Seal apprentices between 2023–2024 and 2027–2028, and the Women in Skilled Trades Initiative call for proposals is expected to support approximately 10,900 women between 2023–2024 and 2026–2027. The Government is also working with provinces and territories to harmonize apprenticeship training requirements in targeted Red Seal trades. 


“Canada needs more skilled trades workers. That’s why we’re focused on helping traditionally marginalized persons – women, persons with disabilities, 2SLGBTQI+, Indigenous peoples, and racialized people – get the resources and training they need to start a career in the skilled trades. A diverse and inclusive workforce is a strong one, and that’s the one we’re creating for Canadians.”

– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough 

Quick facts

  • The call for proposals for Stream 1 of the Union Training and Innovation Program, Investments in Training Equipment, provided unions with up to 50% of the cost of new, up-to-date training equipment and materials. This CFP ran from August 23, 2022 until October 11, 2022.

  • According to the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, to meet the demand for skilled journeypersons in Red Seal trades, an average of 75,000 new apprentices will need to be hired each year for the next five years. The skilled trades most at risk of not meeting the demand include welder, industrial mechanic (millwright), bricklayer, boilermaker, cook and hairstylist.

  • Budget 2022 doubled funding for the UTIP with an investment of $84.2 million over four years. This will help an additional 3,500 apprentices from equity-deserving groups, including women, newcomers, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people and racialized individuals, access good-quality jobs in high-paying skilled trades. 

  • In 2020–2021, 28,324 people participated in the UTIP Stream 1 and Stream 2 projects, and 27% of participants were from equity-deserving groups: 

    • 7% were Indigenous people;
    • 4% were newcomers;
    • 1% were persons with disabilities;
    • 9% were individuals from racialized communities; and
    • 6% were women, exceeding the current average of women apprentices in non-traditional Red Seal trades (which was at 5% in 2017).
  • In addition, 80% of the project participants in Stream 2 projects reported an increase in skills after program intervention.

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Tara Beauport 
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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