Government of Canada invests to improve the participation of equity-deserving groups in the skilled trades  

October 12, 2022          Gatineau, Quebec                  Employment and Social Development Canada 

Women choose a career in the skilled trades less frequently than men, and they face increased barriers in their apprenticeship training. With the demand for skilled tradespeople at an all-time high, the Government of Canada is making targeted investments aimed at developing a diverse and inclusive skilled trades workforce that will help more Canadians—including women—build good, well-paying careers.

Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced two calls for proposals aimed at helping equity-deserving groups, including women, get the apprenticeship training and support they need to enter the skilled trades workforce.

Under Stream 2 (Innovation in Apprenticeship) of the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP), the Government of Canada is investing up to $55 million over five years, beginning in 2023–2024. This will help fund projects that seek to improve the participation of apprentices in Red Seal trades who are women, newcomers, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, and racialized individuals, including through mentorship, career services and job matching. This call for proposals also seeks projects that will support the development of environmental skills for Canada’s transition to a clean economy.

Under the Women in Skilled Trades Initiative, the Government is investing up to $43.5 million over four years, beginning in 2023–2024, to support projects that aim to recruit and retain women apprentices in 39 eligible Red Seal trades found predominantly in the construction and manufacturing sectors. This new investment is a continuation of the Government’s support for women in the skilled trades. These projects will offer tailored supports to women as the temporary measures of the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women (ending in March 2023) and the Women in Construction Fund (ended in March 2022) come to their scheduled ends.

Both calls for proposals open on October 12, 2022, and close on December 1, 2022. Eligible organizations are unions representing workers in the Red Seal trades, not-for-profit and for-profit organizations, Indigenous organizations, municipal governments, and provincial and territorial governments, agencies, institutions and Crown Corporations. 

The Government of Canada invests nearly $1 billion annually in apprenticeship supports through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training, project funding, and support for the Red Seal program. The UTIP Stream 2 call for proposals is expected to support approximately 18,300 Red Seal apprentices between 2023–2024 and 2027–2028, and the Women in Skilled Trades Initiative call for proposals is expected to support approximately 10,900 women between 2023–2024 and 2026–2027. The Government is also working with provinces and territories to harmonize apprenticeship training requirements in targeted Red Seal trades. 

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