Minister Boissonnault announces more than $28.9 million to help women succeed in the skilled trades

News release

March 8, 2024              Surrey, British Columbia              Employment and Social Development Canada

With the number of housing construction projects needed across the country, the demand for skilled tradespeople is at an all-time high and is expected to keep growing. The Government of Canada is making targeted investments aimed at developing a diverse and inclusive skilled trades workforce that will have the right skills to build the country’s housing supply and grow tomorrow’s green economy.

Yesterday, on the eve of International Women’s Day, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault, announced funding of more than $28.9 million over four years for 15 projects that will help approximately 6,400 women get the apprenticeship training and support they need to enter the skilled trades workforce.

Funded under the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy’s Women in the Skilled Trades Initiative, these projects will recruit and retain women apprentices in 39 eligible Red Seal trades found predominantly in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

As part of the announcement, Minister Boissonnault also highlighted funding of more than $1.5 million under this initiative to the Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society for its Immigrant Women Trades Apprenticeship project. The project will support 120 newcomer women apprentices from equity-deserving groups in securing sustainable, rewarding and long-term employment in British Columbia’s carpentry, construction, craft working, construction electrical, plumbing and welding trades.

Each year, the Government of Canada invests nearly $1 billion in apprenticeship supports through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training, project funding, and support for the Red Seal program. These investments help to increase the supply of workers in the skilled trades, fostering a more productive workforce, including in the housing industry.


“Women are vastly underrepresented in the skilled trades – and it isn’t due to a lack of interest. We need to inform and provide opportunities to women across the country – to bring new skillsets, creativity and diversity into our workforce. This investment will give more than 6,000 women in Canada the training they need for good jobs and will strengthen our economy as we fill needed positions.”

– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault

“Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society is excited to provide participants with specific training that leads to technical skills, certification and practical experience that employers in the trades sector are looking for. This program supports women to achieve their trades-certification goals and gain the practical skills required to excel in their future careers.”

– Satbir Singh Cheema, CEO & President of PICS Society

Quick facts

  • Employment and Social Development Canada expects that, between 2022 and 2031, there will be more than 760,000 job openings in construction trades, including 400,000 from retirement.

  • In British Columbia, BuildForce Canada forecasts that the construction labour industry will be short more than 52,000 workers by 2032, with more than 38,000 expected to retire over the same period.

  • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation estimates that 5 million homes will need to be built by 2030. That is 3.5 million more than currently planned.

  • Women’s participation in apprenticeship remains low. For instance, women represent only 10% of apprentices in Red Seal trades, and nearly half of them (44%) are in the low-paid hairstylist, cook and baker service sector trades. 

  • The proportion of women among new registrations in male-dominated Red Seal trades (all trades except hairstylist, cook and baker) has been slowly but steadily increasing, going from 2.4% in 2004 to 7.8% in 2022.

  • The Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy is a funding program that helps apprentices, employers, unions and other organizations participate in apprenticeship. The projects being announced result from a call for proposals launched in October 2022 to fund projects that aim to recruit, retain and help women apprentices in 39 eligible Red Seal trades.

Related products

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Mathis Denis  
Press Secretary  
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Randy Boissonnault  

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
Follow us on X (Twitter)

Page details

Date modified: