In June, Jason Kenney, Canada’s Employment Minister told a skills summit conference in Toronto, that a skilled workers shortage will be one of Canada's future economic challenges and today he announced that since 2007, the Government of Canada has provided 500,000 apprenticeship grants worth nearly $700 million, to help Canadians pursue careers in the skilled trades.
According to Buildforce Canada, it is expected that Canadian companies will need 300,000 new workers over the next ten years in the construction sector alone. Skilled trades (including electricians, welders, heavy-duty equipment mechanics, pipefitters) are desperately needed in the construction, mining and petroleum sectors with many of these jobs paying above the national average.
There are various grants available that has made it easier for those who wish to pursue trades careers such as:
People seeking apprentice opportunities such as construction and roofing to cooking or hairstyling can receive up to $4,000 in grants to pay for their tuition, tools, travel or other expenses.
Apprenticeship Incentive Grant
The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant is a taxable cash grant of $1,000/year, per level, up to a maximum of $2,000 which helps registered apprentices in designated Red Seal trades get started.
Apprenticeship Completion Grant
The Apprenticeship Completion Grant is a taxable, cash grant of $2,000 that helps registered apprentices who have completed their training become certified journeypersons in designated Red Seal trades.
Other incentive programs are available to encourage youth to enter skilled trades careers include:
The Canada Apprentice Loan, which will be available in January 2015, will offer interest-free loans to help registered apprentices with the cost of their training. Apprentices registered in a Red Seal trade apprenticeship will be able to apply for interest-free loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training. Repayment and interest charges won’t begin until after the recipients complete or terminate their apprenticeship-training program.
Tax Deductions and Tax Credits
A tax deduction is available for apprentices, tradespeople to help with the costs of new tools. Tuition and occupational, trade and professional exam fees are also eligible for a tax credit. Apprentice employers also receive a tax credit to encourage them to hire apprenctices.
Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for apprentices
When an apprentice goes on training, they can get access to EI benefits quicker and have shorter processing times, the opportunity to apply for EI benefits seven days before their training begins and only one, two week waiting period per apprenticeship. Apprentices also have access to the Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Program where their employer can top-up a training apprentice’s EI benefits up to 95% of their normal wage without reducing their EI benefits.
Educators, parents and students are becoming more aware that a university degree is not necessarily the only viable educational option nor more valuable and pursuing a trades career can be a very rewarding and lucrative path to take advantage of all the jobs that will be available over the next several decades.