Bakers Journal

Skilled Trades Ontario launched to serve trades

January 25, 2022
By Bakers Journal

Toronto — The Ontario government has launched Skilled Trades Ontario, a new Crown agency meant to promote and market the trades, develop the latest training and curriculum standards and provide a streamlined user-friendly experience for tradespeople.

These changes will result in more workers for in-demand jobs and prepare Ontario for a strong economic comeback, according to a news release from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

The new online services will help apprentices conveniently manage their careers in one place with an online one-stop shop for scheduling classes and exams, submitting forms, paying fees and more. These changes aim to reduce the skilled labour shortage the province currently faces – estimated at 350,000 by 2025 – by making it easier for more people to learn about and enter the trades, including reducing processing and registration times for applicants from 60 days to 12.

An independent board of directors will lead the agency in delivering on the government’s Skilled Trades Strategy to break the stigma surrounding the trades, simplify the system, and encourage employers to hire more apprentices.

There are 144 trades in Ontario. By 2025, one in five jobs will be in the trades. Today, the average age of an apprentice is 29 years old.

Under the Ontario College of Trades, apprentice registrations fell by over 17,000 or 40 per cent, the release said. The previous system had prospective tradespeople mailing documents to offices for one service, calling in for a second and appearing in person for a third. This was confusing and prevented many apprentices from pursuing their interests.

Data suggests that the need to replace retiring workers is greater for trades workers than for other occupations. In 2016, nearly one in three journeypersons in Ontario were aged 55 years or older.

Over 500 Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development inspectors are now responsible for compliance and enforcement of the trades and apprenticeship legislation.

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