Minister Kenney calls for provincial action on apprenticeship reform

Oct 24, 2013, 11:50 ET from Employment and Social Development Canada

OTTAWA, Oct. 24, 2013 /CNW/ — In remarks today to the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism called for provinces to take immediate action to reform their apprenticeship systems.

"Employers in Canada increasingly require highly skilled workers. To create jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity, we must match skills training to workplace needs," said Minister Kenney. "The provinces and territories need to reform their apprenticeship systems to create more opportunities for Canadian workers, while helping to address skills shortages."

Minister Kenney drew attention to challenges in apprenticeship training: high apprentice-journeyperson ratios in some provinces, low completion rates, lack of employer involvement and inconsistency between provincial and territorial apprenticeship systems. He also highlighted our government's commitment to fixing the skills mismatch with the Canada Job Grant. Through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Canada Job Grant will invest in skills training for unemployed and underemployed Canadians, better ensuring they are qualified to fill the high-quality, well-paying jobs that are available.

Minister Kenney also highlighted the importance of addressing Canada's skills shortage to take advantage of the tremendous opportunity the Canada European Union Free Trade Agreement offers. This historic agreement will create 80,000 jobs for Canadians and give Canadian businesses access to a half-billion new customers.

Economic Action Plan 2013 also announced measures to support apprentices and the skilled trades, specifically, using apprentices in federal construction and maintenance contracts and infrastructure projects, working with the provinces and territories to harmonize requirements for apprenticeship training and certification, and examining the use of practical tests as an assessment in certain skilled trades. In addition, our government provides grants and tax credits to encourage Canadians to pursue and complete apprenticeship training and promotes careers in the skilled trades to youth.


Canada Job Grant

The Canada Job Grant will provide $15,000 or more per person, including a maximum $5,000 federal contribution and matching contributions from provinces, territories and employers. Businesses with a plan to train Canadians for an existing job or a better job will be eligible to apply for a Canada Job Grant.

Upon full implementation, nearly 130 000 Canadians each year are expected to be able to access the training they need to obtain gainful employment or improve their skills for in-demand jobs.

Support for Apprentices

The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant and Apprenticeship Completion Grant are taxable cash grants that encourage Canadians to pursue and complete apprenticeship training in designated Red Seal trades. As a result of these grants, apprentices could be eligible to receive up to $4,000, which can be used to pay for tuition, tools or other expenses.

The Government of Canada also offers a tax credit to employers to encourage them to hire apprentices and a tax deduction for apprentices and tradespeople to help cover the cost of new tools.

In addition, Economic Action Plan 2013 plans to provide more information on the job prospects and benefits of working in the skilled trades, science, technology, engineering and mathematics to promote education in these high-demand fields.

SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada