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Apprenticeship grants help newcomers and young Canadians get jobs

Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, announced that Canada has provided a total of 500,000 apprenticeship grants to Canadians since 2007 to help them pursue careers in the skilled trades.

Kenney spoke with apprentices at an event hosted by George Brown College to celebrate this important milestone and handed out apprenticeship grants to those who have recently completed their training.

The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant and Apprenticeship Completion Grant are cash grants that encourage Canadians to pursue and complete apprenticeship training in Red Seal trades. Through these grants, apprentices receive up to $4,000, which can be used to pay for tuition, tools or other expenses. To-date, nearly $700 million has been provided in apprenticeship grants.

Kenney highlighted other measures to create opportunities for apprentices such as the introduction of the Canada Apprentice Loan, support for training programs and tax credits such as the Tool Tax Deduction for apprentices and tradesmen and the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit for employers.

He also addressed the need for a parity of esteem that will put the skilled trades on an equal footing with a university education. He expressed concern about negative stereotypes that exist towards the skilled trades and the false perception that a university education is more valuable than an apprenticeship.

A few quick facts:

According to Buildforce Canada, in the construction sector alone, it is expected that Canadian companies will need approximately 300,000 new workers over the next 10 years.

According to the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, in less than 10 years, employers will not be able to find qualified candidates for 1.5 million job openings.

In Economic Action Plan 2014, the federal government announced the introduction of the Canada Apprentice Loan, which will be available in January 2015 to provide apprentices in Red Seal trades with access to interest-free loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training. It is estimated that at least 26,000 apprentices a year will apply for these loans.

“Our top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity,” said Kenney. “As of today, we have given out 500,000 Apprenticeship Grants. This important milestone demonstrates our commitment to supporting apprentices and addressing skills shortages in trades that are so vital to our economy. Jobs in the skilled trades are in-demand, well-paying and rewarding. Choosing a career in the skilled trades is a choice for opportunity.”

“The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada is encouraged by the long-term support for apprentices in the skilled trades,” said Sean Reid, Vice-President, Progressive Contractors Association of Canada. “Our industry recognizes that there are some significant skills shortages that are affecting major construction projects across Canada. We need more Canadians to consider a career in the skilled trades and we recognize that apprenticeship grants are the sorts of investments that will benefit apprentices right now and also help the longer-term landscape.”

“The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant and Apprenticeship Completion Grant are actual help for apprentices and their families,” said Chris Smillie, Senior Advisor, Government Relations and Public Affairs at Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO. “The grants are something tangible, something to show apprentices of all trades the work they do is valuable and necessary in Canada’s economy. The Canadian Building Trades supports the efforts of the Government to assist apprentices in the construction sector and encourages additional measures in the near future.”

“This program effectively has allowed a large number of Canadians to benefit from this grant,” said Serge Buy, Executive Director, National Association of Career Colleges. “This is exciting as it means that individuals who otherwise may have had financial barriers to training and meaningful employment were given the support that they need. The apprenticeship grant given to students of career colleges enabled them to fulfill their dreams: that is a positive impact of government intervention.”

“The apprenticeship grants are an important way of recognizing the hard work apprentices dedicate to learning their trade,” said Sarah Watts-Rynard, Executive Director, Canadian Apprenticeship Forum. “By rewarding both progress and completion, the grants motivate and encourage apprentices on the path to certification. I congratulate the 500,000th recipient, and everyone before them!”

“Providing apprenticeship grants is a critical step in helping thousands of Canadians pursue their career goals and enabling businesses to find the skilled workers they need,” said Anne Sado, President, George Brown College.  

“Apprenticeship Grants are another example of how Canada is enabling individual apprentices to finish their training, and to gain certification as masters of their craft,” said Nobina Robinson, CEO, Polytechnics Canada. 

Posted: Sep 30, 2014

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