We Need More Housing – And The Trades To Built It

Written By:

Michael Klassen

Originally posted in CondoLife – Greater Toronto’s Complete Condo Guide

According to numerous sources including Ontario’s Housing Task Force, the province needs approximately 1.5 million new homes in the next decade to satisfy demand. This sounds great, but for that to happen, we need the skilled trades to build them. Unfortunately, Ontario is facing a critical labour shortage in this area. Part of the shortage is due to a wave of tradespeople retiring within the next few years. The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum predicts that we need 75,000 new apprentices to be hired in the next five years to fulfill the demand for skilled journeypersons in the Red Seal trades – those governed by regulations under the Provincial and Territorial Apprenticeships Acts. Immigration helps a lot by bringing skilled workers in from other countries, but Canadians can fill the gap as well by pursuing the badly needed careers. This year, we’ve seen action from the federal and provincial governments to help make that become a reality.
In January, the government of Canada took steps to promote the skilled trades as a first-choice career path. In addition to an advertising campaign pointing out that the trades offer excellent jobs for both men and women, the government launched a website that serves as a national information source about the skilled trades in Canada and the Red Seal trade designation. Another way the federal government is promoting the trades is through an annual investment of nearly $1 billion in apprentice supports, in addition to existing funding programs.
In October, Ottawa announced a partnership to create more than 4,000 apprenticeships across the country. More than $53 million is slated to go to the Native Women’s Association of Canada for Indigenous women, Two-Spirit and Gender-Divers apprenticeship with small – and medium-sized companies. First-year apprentices in eligible Red Seal Trades will get valuable hands-on experience and training. This program follows on the 16 apprenticeship service projects announced since May of this year.
Also in October, Skilled Trades Ontario unveiled new branding with the tagline “Opportunity in every skill” referring to the more than 140 career paths available in our province. With the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, Skilled Trades Ontario is hosting career fairs across the province. Skilled Trades Ontario establishes apprenticeship programs, curriculum and training standards, certification exams and much more.
There are numerous sources of help for Canadians and Ontarians when it comes to pursuing a skilled trade, but we face overcoming the misconception that the trades are somehow less prestigious than other careers. In fact, it takes extensive knowledge and training to become adept at the trades, and they offer well-paying jobs for people of all walks of life.
Canadians should be proud to become part of our skilled labour force. Anyone looking for a career that will provide a job for life would do well to explore the trades, especially now when the demand is so high.

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