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Ontario Building a Skilled Workforce: Supports for Apprentices and New Governance Model

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Ontario Building a Skilled Workforce: Supports for Apprentices and New Governance Model

As part of Budget 2019, the Ontario government is transforming and modernizing the apprenticeship and skilled trades system across the province. Measures include:

A new governance framework for the skilled trades and apprenticeship system

The Modernizing the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2019, establishes a new streamlined and modernized ministry-led delivery model to replace the Ontario College of Trades. The new governance model will:

  • Encourage collaboration with industry and partners on the new portable skill sets framework
  • Give the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities stewardship of the apprenticeship and skilled trades system with the responsibility to establish advisory committees, and prescribe and regulate trades, skill sets, regulated activities, and trade ratios.
  • Establish a Registrar of Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship to be responsible for apprenticeship programs, issuing credentials and certificates, overseeing aspects of the compliance framework (e.g. appointing inspectors), and maintaining a public register of certified tradespersons.
  • Modernize compliance and enforcement of trades to a risk-based approach based on restricted activities to ensure safety. Trades will no longer be classified as voluntary or compulsory under the proposed legislation; however, there will be a requirement for certification to perform restricted activities.

The Minister will appoint one or more training and skills advisors to assist with the implementation of the new model, including engaging with industry and stakeholders to develop portable skill sets, advise on restricted activities, and encourage participation of under-represented groups in the trades such as women, Indigenous people and people with disabilities.

Enhance supports for apprentices

Ontario is developing a suite of program initiatives to support apprentices, employers and other partners as the system is modernized.

  • A new financial support program will be developed to encourage employers to come together to train apprentices by engaging greater apprenticeship partnership opportunities through group sponsorship. Group sponsorship helps small-to-medium sized employers participate in apprenticeship training by reducing administrative and training costs, and expanding access to talent in the skilled trades. It also creates opportunities for more people looking for a career in the skilled trades, and gives apprentices broader experience to develop and acquire the skills they need to become certified.
  • A new client-facing digital system, including a one-window digital portal for apprentices will be developed to improve service delivery.

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities is developing new initiatives to support the modernization of the skilled trades and apprenticeship system, and the implementation of the new legislation. Further information on these initiatives will be shared when available.

Promote apprenticeship and skilled trades as a pathway of choice for students from kindergarten to grade 12

A marketing campaign targeting students and groups typically under-represented in apprenticeship training is planned for fall 2019, promoting the trades to a variety of audiences, including elementary and high school students, their parents and educators.

The ministry will be working closely with the Ministry of Education to support the Education that Works for You vision - including increasing student and parent exposure to skilled trades, technology and apprenticeship training, and focus on promoting these high-demand career pathways.

In addition to the measures introduced in Budget 2019, the Ontario government is also working for the people and delivering on promises through the following actions:

Eliminating or reducing Ontario College of Trades membership fees

Leading to the wind-down of the Ontario College of Trades in fall 2019, in mid-April, membership fees for apprentices were eliminated, and annual membership fees for journeypersons were reduced by 50 per cent.

The new membership fees are:

  • $0 for the Apprentices class;
  • $0 for the Journeyperson Candidates class;
  • $0 for the Tradespersons class; and
  • $60 for the Journeypersons class

This change to member fees supports the Ontario government's objective of reducing red tape so people can access good‐paying jobs that the economy needs now.

Building on the success of the Making Ontario Open for Business Act

Changes introduced in Budget 2019 continue the work of Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018, which reduced regulatory burden for employers of apprentices by lowering journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios to 1:1, established a moratorium on the reclassification of trades, and enabled the wind-down of the Ontario College of Trades.

  • Total apprenticeship registrations are 11 per cent higher than at the same time last year. Since the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 was passed, apprenticeship registrations in the construction sector are about 24 per cent higher that at the same time period last year.
  • The government is providing for an orderly transition and wind-up of the Ontario College of Trades to be completed in 2019.

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