SASKATOON, Jan. 9, 2015 /CNW/ - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, on behalf of the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, today announced the launch of the new Canada Apprentice Loan, an important initiative that provides apprentices registered in a Red Seal trade program with access to loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training. The loans are interest-free until after loan recipients complete or leave their apprenticeship training program, up to a maximum of six years.
During a roundtable at the Saskatchewan Polytechnic , Minister Ritz focused on the importance and value of the skilled trades for our Canadian economy and said that apprenticeship training is essential to keep Canada's economy strong. That is why, in addition to the Canada Apprentice Loan, the Government also supports apprentices through several other initiatives, including grants and tax credits. Since 2006, the Government of Canada has also provided apprenticeship grants and tax credits for both apprentices and employers to encourage apprenticeships and careers in the skilled trades. To date, the Government has issued over 500,000 apprenticeship grants to Canadians worth nearly $700 million to help them get the skills and training they need to get well-paying jobs.
Minister Ritz emphasized the value of skilled trades and underlined the pressing demand for skilled tradesmen and women, particularly in areas such as infrastructure projects like the Government's New Building Canada Plan, which commits $53 billion in funding, including nearly $437 million to projects in Saskatchewan under the New Building Canada Fund.
- It is estimated that at least 26,000 apprentices a year will apply for over $100 million in Canada Apprentice Loans.
- Red Seal trades encompass 57 skilled trades, including bakers, bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, gasfitters, heavy equipment operators, ironworkers, machinists, painters, plumbers, sheet metal workers, and truck mechanics, to name a few.
- According to Statistics Canada, almost 360,000 people are enrolled in over 400 apprenticeship and skilled trades programs. But, only half of apprentices are completing their programs.
- There are approximately 2.9 million skilled trade workers in Canada which represent 17 percent of the workforce.
"I am proud to announce the availability of the Canada Apprentice Loan. Thanks to this program, Saskatchewan apprentices will get help to complete their technical training and become certified journeypersons while employers will be able to fill shortages in the skilled trades."
–Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Regional Minister for Saskatchewan
"Our Government's top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity. Jobs in the skilled trades are in-demand in different sectors and regions across the country. We are taking action to address these skills shortages by providing even more support for apprentices. This includes the introduction of the Canada Apprentice Loan, which will help more apprentices complete their training and encourage more Canadians to pursue a career in the skilled trades."
– The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development
"As the primary provider of apprenticeship training in our province, Saskatchewan Polytechnic welcomes today's announcement. Building a brighter tomorrow through student-focused, employer-driven programming is what Saskatchewan Polytechnic is all about. Supports like this will make a big difference in the lives of our apprenticeship students. It will make it easier for them to pursue their career aspirations, which in turn will benefit the province's employers."
–Dr. Larry Rosia, Interim President and CEO of Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Since 2006, our Government has recognized the importance of apprentices to Canada's economy and to this end has made significant investments to help apprentices and the employers that hire them.
Economic Action Plan 2014
To help registered apprentices with the cost of their training and encourage more Canadians to consider a career in the skilled trades, the Canada Apprentice Loan will offer interest-free loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training and will defer interest charges and loan repayment until the recipients complete or cancel their study program. It is estimated that at least 26 000 apprentices per year will apply for over $100 million in loans.
A second new Economic Action Plan 2014 initiative, the Flexibility and Innovation in Apprenticeship Technical Training pilot project, will help reduce non-financial barriers to completing training and obtaining certification by using new learning tools such as in-class simulators, e-learning modules, remote learning sites and video conferencing. This will help apprentices continue working and earning while fulfilling the technical training requirements of their study program. This project could potentially support up to 12 multi-year projects through reallocations of $13 million over four years starting in 2014-15.
The Government will also ensure increased awareness of existing financial supports available through Employment Insurance (EI) so apprentices can start to receive benefits more quickly while on technical training. Through EI's Supplemental Unemployment Benefit plan, employers can also invest more in apprenticeship training by choosing to top up an apprentice's benefits by up to 95 per cent of his or her normal wage.
Support for apprentices
The Government of Canada has provided $4.3 million and the governments of the Atlantic provinces over $3.5 million to harmonize training, certification and standards, leading to increased availability of training, higher apprenticeship completion rates and more labour mobility for apprentices across Atlantic Canada. In turn, these actions mean more jobs and opportunities for workers in the skilled trades and a step forward in addressing the skills shortage faced in certain regions and sectors in Canada.
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. Since 2007, the Government has issued over 500,000 apprenticeship grants.
The Government of Canada also offers a tax credit to employers to encourage them to hire apprentices and a tax deduction for apprentices and tradesmen to help cover the cost of new tools.
Promoting careers in the skilled trades
Also through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government proposed to provide more information on job prospects and the benefits of working in the skilled trades, science, technology, engineering and mathematics to promote education in these high-demand fields.
The Government of Canada also provides a range of support—including Canada Student Loans, Canada Student Grants, the Canada Learning Bond and the Canada Education Savings Grant—to help young Canadians pursue and save for their post-secondary education, so that they can acquire the skills and training they need to succeed in the job market and in the future economy.
SOURCE Canada's Economic Action Plan