Part 1: Governance and partnership development Chief Skills Officer

  1. Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) should consider establishing a Chief Skills Officer (CSO) position and supporting committees, as outlined below, to facilitate ongoing stakeholder engagement and improve the overall governance and oversight of the skilled trades. It is recommended that MLTSD also conduct further analysis to ensure alignment and cohesion with the recommendations of the Skilled Trades Panel.

Key functions could include: 

  1. The CSO would lead a Provincial Industry Advisory Committee (similar to previous Minister’s Advisory Committees), which would be tasked with monitoring the operations of the skilled trades and apprenticeship system and providing advice and recommendations to the Minister on significant matters of planning, communications, and implementation.
    • The CSO would work in collaboration with the Assistant Deputy Ministers of the Employment Training Division and the Workforce Policy Innovation Division and the Chief Prevention Officer to support alignment between apprenticeship and the skilled trades, health and safety and employment services.
    • The Committee should be composed of a representation of skilled trades industry and training leaders from each sector and leaders from the following historically underrepresented groups, such as women, Indigenous people, Francophones, people with disabilities, and racialized individuals including either a representative of the Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity or an organization actively engaged in the Black Youth Action Plan.
  2. The CSO would oversee the creation and ongoing use of four Regional Planning Committees (RPC), that would support educators, employers and Training Delivery Agents, in building partnerships, working together with local Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Councils and MLTSD regional staff.

Additionally, two subcommittees for each RPC should be created:

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee should be set up to identify the local barriers faced by groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the skilled trades, such as women, Indigenous youth, Black youth, persons with disabilities, newcomers, Francophones, youth-at-risk and those from racialized communities. The Committee would work with community partners to support the implementation of the Apprenticeship and Training and Recognition Program (see recommendation 7) specifically as it pertains to creating welcoming and inclusive environments on-the-job and in-class.
  • Skilled Trades Promotional Network should be set up with the goals of creating an online community of employers, journeypersons, skilled trades professionals and apprentices who can share their diverse experiences, and key information about the promotion of the trades, including strategies for reaching underrepresented groups and effectively communicating opportunities in a culturally relevant manner. School board partners (Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) Coordinators, Leads of Experiential Learning (LELs), Student Success Leads (SSLs) and Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) leads) could draw on the network when they need help arranging skilled trades events and promotions.

The below organizational chart illustrates a proposed governance structure:

  • Chief Skills Officer
    • Provincial Industry Advisory Committee
      • Central Regional Planning Committee
        • Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Subcommittee
        • Skilled Trades Promotional Network
      • Eastern Regional Planning Committee
        • Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Subcommittee
        • Skilled Trades Promotional Network
      • Western Regional Planning Committee
        • Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Subcommittee
        • Skilled Trades Promotional Network
      • Northern Regional Planning Table
        • Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Subcommittee
        • Skilled Trades Promotional Network

Download printer-friendly organization chart (PNG).

Skilled Trades Strategy enhancement

  1. Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development should develop phase two of the Skilled Trades Strategy to include an integrated, multi-ministry plan to work collaboratively across government to address the key findings and recommendations from our review.
    1. The pillars of the strategy should align with the Anti-Racism Action Plan and embed a diversity, equity and inclusion lens/focus within the key pillars of breaking the stigma, creating more supportive pathways and better supporting employers. Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development should consider additional pillars, including creating wrap-around supports for apprentices.

      Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) should consider bringing the following ministry partners together to ensure that students and prospective apprentices are adequately supported from their career exploration through to certification, and that employers are supported to recruit, train and hire apprentices.
      • Ministry of Labour, Training & Skills Development
      • Ministry of Colleges and Universities
      • Ministry of Education
      • Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
      • Ministry of Infrastructure
      • Ministry of Transportation
      • Ministry of Government and Community Services
      • Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
      • Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility
      • Ministry of Indigenous Affairs
      • Ministry of Women’s Issues
      • Ministry of Francophone Affairs

Further, MLTSD should consider a comprehensive public communication plan to announce phase two of the strategy, including clearly communicating all of the components of the enhanced strategy.

Skilled trades accessibility partnership table

  1. As part of phase two of the integrated Skilled Trades Strategy, MLTSD should explore the establishment of a Skilled Trades Accessibility Partnership Table in collaboration with the partner ministries. The table should include diverse representation from employers, trade associations, Training Delivery Agents and, most importantly, people with disabilities who have experience in the skilled trades.

    The mandate of the table would include:
    1. Providing ongoing advice to the MLTSD as it moves forward with the Skilled Trades Strategy to ensure people with disabilities are represented and included in current and future policy development.
    2. Developing promising practice guides for employers and Training Delivery Agents on creating inclusive and welcoming environments, including how to implement accessibility accommodations within the skilled trades building off the successes of Ontario Disability Employment Network’s Mentor Ability program and MLTSDs Supported Employment program.
    3. Working with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and Skilled Trades Promotional Network, identify people with disabilities and employers as skilled trades champions to promote skilled trades careers, create apprenticeship opportunities, and advocate for students and apprentices with disabilities.

Membership of the Skilled Trades Accessibility Partnership Table would include representation from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and Skilled Trades Promotional Network in order to capture regional and operational feedback within policy development.

Increasing the participation of youth with disabilities in the skilled trades will require a holistic approach that includes early promotion within schools, opportunities for trades exploration, marketing, enhanced supports for transitioning into and maintaining an apprenticeship and resources to educate employers on creating welcoming accessible environments – all of which have been recommended in this report. The Skilled Trades Accessibility Partnership Table would advise on the development of the Skilled Trades Strategy, by providing an accessibility lens that considers the needs of youth with disabilities. The skilled trades disability champions and promising practices would help employers hire youth with disabilities and encourage their continued success throughout their apprenticeship journey.

Indigenous skilled trades and apprenticeship office

  1. It is recommended that MLTSD, in collaboration with Indigenous partners assess the potential for the establishment of an external Indigenous-led Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Office to provide more efficient and effective supports in the skilled trades sectors to First Nation, Métis and Inuit youth in Ontario:
    1. Pending further MLTSD analysis and feedback from Indigenous partners, the office’s primary role could include:
      • outreach, marketing and promotion of skilled trades careers, developing partnerships with Indigenous communities and organizations, employers, school boards and Training Delivery Agents
      • establishing mentorship programs
      • identifying and providing supports for youth to access culturally relevant training and
      • providing advice and feedback to MLTSD on the apprenticeship and skilled trades initiatives to better support Indigenous youth

Part 2: Financial support

Opportunities for expansion

  1. It is recommended that MLTSD expand the current financial supports for apprentices while they attend their in-class training by:
    • expanding access to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), specifically for apprentices enrolled in the Day Release delivery format (i.e. one day per week).
    • further increasing the amount of the Grant for Apprentice Learning (GAL) for apprentices who are not eligible to receive Employment Insurance (EI) during full-time in-class training and explore options to make the funding available earlier in their training.
    • further increase transportation supports for apprentices specifically for people living in northern and/or rural communities, Indigenous people and other clients that lack access to public transportation.

Support for non-apprenticeable skilled trades

  1. MLTSD should offer financial support to youth seeking to pursue a career in a non- apprenticeable skilled trade. Youth are interested in pursuing viable careers in non-apprenticeable skilled trades but are experiencing financial barriers due to their ineligibility for apprenticeship incentives and grants. It is recommended that MLTSD develop a new grant to support youth pursuing a career in non-apprenticeable trades. For youth to access the fund, their employer must first identify demand for the non-apprenticeable trade and have an approved employment and training plan.

Part 3: Enhancements to the skilled trades and apprenticeship system

Apprenticeship training and recognition program

The ATR program should consist of three levels of online training (foundation, intermediate and advanced) made available through the digital portal (see recommendation 22)

Each level of training should include a set of training modules to assist employers in reaching key milestones that employer sponsors should strive to achieve. Examples of key milestones could include the development of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan, supporting apprentice progression and completion in a timely manner and succession planning.

Training topics could include, but are not limited to:

Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) should explore opportunities to reward employers for successfully completing each level of the ATR program, such as financial incentives (tied to the Apprentice Incentive Grant), recognition awards/certificates or special designations on Ontario’s public register.  

  1. It is recommended that MLTSD creates an Apprenticeship Training Recognition (ATR) program for skilled trades employers in consultation with key partners. The ATR program will encourage and promote a culture of training in which employers incorporate and prioritize meaningful training into all employer activities.
    • creating welcoming work environments that are inclusive, equitable and non- discriminatory
    • supporting apprentices from underrepresented groups by actively addressing barriers and issues of discrimination and harassment
    • developing the skills and abilities needed to effectively recruit, sponsor, and train apprentices and skilled trade workers to succeed in Ontario’s skilled trades system

Regional training institutes

  1. It is recommended that Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD), in partnership with Ministry of Education (EDU), and with advice from regional partners, establish select secondary schools as Regional Skilled Trades Training Institutes within select school boards, with a mandate to:
    1. Provide skilled trades-specific courses and access to training equipment available to any grade 11 and 12 school student within the school board.
    2. Provide participating students with the opportunity to start their apprenticeship while in high school through the delivery of the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), including level 1 training.
    3. Provide secondary school students in Ontario with apprenticeship and employment opportunities in the skilled trades while providing employers with a new source of workers to address local skills shortages.
    4. Offer try a trade days, to elementary students who would visit the institutes on field trips.

Regional Planning Committees would work with MLTSD and EDU to identify school boards within each region of the province to pilot the institutes and to determine the training that is needed to address skills shortages in local communities. Consideration could be given to expand the number of institutes in the future.

Participating school boards would be responsible for partnering with ministry approved Training Delivery Agents for the delivery of Level 1 in-class training, and for partnering with employers in their community to provide on-the-job-training and cooperative education placements to students.

Wraparound supports, including a shuttle bus to commute students to and from their training; and client services to support students in navigating their apprenticeship career, including transitioning into the workplace after graduation, should be available to the students of the institutes.

Reclassification of the Certificate of Qualification and Certificate of Apprenticeship

  1. It is recommended that MLTSD, with support from Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU), examine the reclassification the credential level and nomenclature of the Certificate of Apprenticeship and Certificate of Qualification on the Ontario Qualifications Framework (OQF) and in legislation to become diploma level credentials, i.e. "Apprenticeship Diploma" and "Skilled Trades Diploma of Qualification."
    • The OQF is a guiding document which illustrates the continuum of learning, including post-secondary certificate, diploma and degree programs offered under auspices of the Province of Ontario, including apprenticeship certificates, qualifications awarded by public colleges and private career colleges, and degrees offered by universities.
    • Currently on the OQF, the CoA and CoQ are classified between Certificate level 2 and 3, which are described to provide a basic or entry-level preparation for the workplace. Given the number of hours required and the highly technical nature of skilled trades training, this classification is inaccurate and miscommunicates the range of in-depth knowledge, and technical skills required in the trades.

Role of Employment and Training Consultants

  1. It is recommended that MLTSD enhance the roles and responsibilities of Employment and Training Consultants (ETC) to provide more direct local support, guidance and promotion of apprenticeship and the skilled trades.

    Expanded duties of ETCs, including bilingual ETCs, should include:
    1. Direct support and assistance for apprentice and sponsors on the use of the new digital portal, once implemented (see recommendation 22).
    2. Engage in on-site meetings and strengthen partnerships among registered apprentices, apprenticeship candidates, employers, sponsors, Training Delivery Agents(TDAs), school board staff and other stakeholders to provide information and share expertise of the apprenticeship and skilled trades system.
    3. Deliver presentations to parents, students, and educators at events organized by community partners and school boards to provide information on the apprenticeship application process, how to navigate a career in the skilled trades and how apprentices can submit inquiries to MLTSD throughout their journey.
    4. Actively promote skilled trades and technology experiential education programs to employers, industry sector tables, regional workforce development tables and other community groups, including but not limited to Pre-Apprenticeship Training, OYAP, Cooperative Education, Specialist High Skills Major and Dual Credits.
    5. Provide information sessions for Employment Ontario (EO) Service Providers to enhance the knowledge of EO staff on the apprenticeship pathway and the breadth of job opportunities within the skilled trades. Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to support the development of training resources to support ETCs with the information sessions that can be used as a train-the-trainer resource by EO Service Providers to deliver to their clients, employers and other community organizations.

Pre-apprenticeship program

  1. It is recommended that the following program enhancements be made to the pre- apprenticeship program:

    Streams 1-3 would include job placements for participating pre-apprentices.
    1. Establish three distinct pre-apprenticeship program streams for service delivery organizations to apply to:
      1. Skilled Trades Exploration: designed to allow participants to explore one or more trades using the try-a-trade model. This may include site visits, job-shadowing, and basic exploration and orientation activities. Program success should be based on participant completion.
      2. Skilled Trades Linked to an Apprenticeship: designed to support participants with an opportunity to register as an apprentice with the placement sponsor following completion of the program. These programs should focus on the delivery of Level 1 in-class training as well as the delivery of specific ‘job ready’ and employability skills training, and academic upgrading. Program success should be based on placements and apprenticeship registrations, as well as continued employment after 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, and as a journeyperson.
      3. Underrepresented Target Groups: These programs are targeted towards groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the skilled trades system, including women, Black youth, Indigenous youth, youth with disabilities, newcomers, Francophones, youth at-risk, and those from racialized communities and must include program design elements of the above two streams. Wrap around supports, including mentoring, should be included and programs should report on participant retention rates at the milestones outlined above. Program success should be based on participant completion, number of registered apprentices and placements, as well as continued employment after six months, one year, three years, and as a journeyperson.
    2. Establish multi-year pre-apprenticeship funding agreements for service providers to ensure sustainable and predictable funding of pre-apprenticeship programs.
    3. Make it mandatory for service providers to support participants throughout their pre- apprenticeship training and after program graduation by helping them transition into apprenticeships (for example, by helping pre-apprentices find an employer sponsor; by helping pre-apprentices navigate apprenticeship pathways; and by raising awareness about financial supports for new apprentices).
    4. Enhanced financial support for pre-apprenticeship participants to assist with their basic living costs, transportation, child care and other expenses and increased wage subsidies to recruit and retain employers that can provide high-quality placements and on-the-job training.

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program

  1. It is recommended that MLTSD enhance the OYAP program to encourage more employers to participate and better support students throughout the program. This includes:
    • Supporting school boards in increasing employer engagement by marketing the program through targeted awareness campaigns for existing employers who sponsor apprentices
    • Providing employers with information on the program benefits and connecting them to their local OYAP Coordinator.
    • Enhancing the Achievement Incentive by adding a payment for all employers who take on OYAP participants.
    • Establishing dedicated staff in MLTSD local apprenticeship offices to follow up with students, especially those from underrepresented groups, that have completed OYAP (and graduated from secondary school) to support their transition to full-time employment as an apprentice. Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) staff to provide the following information and support:
      • application process for continuing their apprenticeship training with a new employer
      • financial incentives and grants
      • requirements for completing their apprenticeship training

Ensure OYAP transfer payment agreements are provided to District School Boards well in advance of each school year to allow uninterrupted implementation for the upcoming academic year.

Part 4: Enhancements to the K-12 and post-secondary education

Encouraging more skilled trades professionals to become teachers

  1. It is recommended that MLTSD collaborate with the Ministry of Education (EDU), Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) and the Ontario College of Teachers to support and encourage more skilled trades professionals to transition into a career as an Ontario Certified Teacher (OCT). This includes:
    1. The creation of a Skilled Trades Educator Scholarship for skilled trades professionals with a Certificate of Qualifications and/or Certificate of Apprenticeship who want to pursue their teaching certificate. The scholarship would be used to support the following costs:
      • tuition
      • books
      • living expenses
      • transportation
      • supplement wages
    2. Explore the feasibility of recognizing the Certificate of Qualification as equivalent to a bachelor’s degree to better reflect the skills and education of a skilled trades professional.
    3. Amend the starting salary of skilled trades professionals entering the teaching profession to begin at group 3 of the educator salary grid.
    4. Working with the Ontario College of Teachers, faculties of education, and school boards to streamline pathways for skilled trade professionals who have taught under letters of permission to enter Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programs.

Technology education integrated into curriculum

Early promotion and exposure to the skilled trades from Kindergarten to grade 8 provides the foundational knowledge required to prepare students for secondary school programs, such as Technological Education courses, Specialist High Skills Majors and OYAP and helps to build student awareness of the many career opportunities in the skilled trades before they begin making decisions about their career path. Current research indicates that students begin forming their career choices in elementary school, which underscores the importance of increasing student’s knowledge and awareness of skilled trades careers prior to secondary school.

It is recommended that skilled trades-related skill sets focus on experiential learning, with play-based learning for primary students, that includes the promotion of the skilled trades as a viable career path for underrepresented groups. Ministry of Education (EDU), in collaboration with relevant partners, should develop resources, activities, and presentations for students and parents to support the implementation of skilled trades-related skill sets as part of the elementary curriculum for grades K-8, such as:

The current elementary curriculum should also be expanded by including, but not limited to:

  1. It is recommended that EDU develop and integrate culturally relevant foundational skilled trades-related skill sets into the elementary curriculum for Kindergarten to grade 8.
    • Introduction to skilled trades careers through play-based learning connections to the trades (for example, building with blocks, planting a garden).
    • Skilled trades career pathway introduction: what are the skilled trades and how do you get there?
    • Experiential learning events for students and parents related to the skilled trades.
    • High school course offerings and how they relate to careers in the skilled trades.
    • Identification and description of a variety of skilled trades careers, their sectors, and various industries where they work (for example, Millwrights are employed in a wide range of industries such as food, automotive, pharmaceutical, and amusement parks).
      • For example, in grade 8, students should be informed of the related secondary level courses that will provide the foundational knowledge to excel in each skilled trade (for example physics courses for the electrician trade).
    • Highlighting people, including Canadians such as Anglophone and Francophone, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, women, and people with disabilities who have made contributions to the skilled trades, where possible.
    • Supporting resources, such as lesson plans with activities and ideas to help provide exposure and experiential learning opportunities and skilled trades related “hands-on” kits to provide students with the experience of using basic hand tools.

Professional development for educators

  1. It is recommended that Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) collaborate with Ministry of Education (EDU) to develop and mandate the delivery of professional development days for the following groups:
    1. Elementary Teachers (grades K-8): All elementary teachers to attend a half-day of professional development, to be delivered a minimum of once per year, focused on awareness and appreciation of skilled trades careers with linkages to the Ontario Curriculum (Science and Technology). Professional development should include, but not be limited to:
      • Training to support educators in identifying and describing a variety of skilled trades careers.
      • The viability of skilled trades options for all students, including women, people with disabilities, Francophones, Black, Indigenous and People of Colour, and other underrepresented groups.
      • Guest speakers from the skilled trades community, including individuals from underrepresented groups, to discuss the variety of careers in their industry.
      • Training for elementary teachers to increase their comfort level with hand tools, machinery and equipment (for example, hairstylist shears, kitchen equipment, horticultural tools etc.) to support the provisions of experiential learning opportunities in the classroom related to the skilled trades.
      • Identify people, including Canadians such as Anglophone and Francophone, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, women, and people with disabilities, who have made contributions to those fields, where possible.
    2. Guidance Counsellors (grades 7-8 and 9-12), grade 10 Career Studies Teachers, Technological Education Teachers, Student Success Teachers and administrators: To be delivered a minimum of once per year, to attend a half-day of professional development focused on skilled trades and apprenticeship pathways, with linkages to the Ontario Curriculum. Professional development should include, but not be limited to:
      • Overview of apprenticeship training (for example, requirements of a sponsors, on-the-job training and in-class training requirements), pathway options (for example, pre- apprenticeship, Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, cooperative education, Specialist High Skills Major etc.) and roles/responsibilities (for example, Training Delivery Agents, employers, etc.).
      • Sharing of resources related to incentives and grants available to apprentices, employers, organizations and non-profits through the federal and provincial government.
      • Site tours with local employers to develop an understanding of the facilities, technologies and work environments of various trades, as well as to meet skilled trades workers to learn about the skills they needed to be successful in their roles.
      • Presentations on the variety of industries that employ skilled trades workers.
      • Information sessions led by MLTSD Employment and Training Consultants to build awareness of Ontario’s Skilled Trades Hub and the MLTSDs planned digital portal and strengthen the relationship between the school boards and MLTSD.
    3. The Ministry of Colleges and Universities to work with faculties of education to include an experiential skilled trades module in the Bachelor of Education Program.
      • The module will acknowledge the importance of skilled trades, inform teacher candidates of the apprenticeship and skilled trade pathways, identify and describe a variety of skilled trades careers and sectors, and outline the various industries that hire skilled trades workers.

Mandatory skilled trades course

In addition, revisions should be made to the grade 9 and 10 Technological Education curriculum to ensure TIJ1O provides an overview of the 144 trades within the four skilled trades sectors (construction, motive power, industrial and service) with content related to the skilled trades pathways. A unit on health and safety should be a required component of the course and specific examples of course activities for each of the sectors should also be outlined in the curriculum, such as:

  1. It is recommended that the Exploring Technologies (TIJ1O) technological education course be made a compulsory course for all students to complete in either grade 9 or 10.
    • changing a tire (motive power sector)
    • cooking a meal (service sector)
    • building a small shelf (construction sector)
    • reading and interpreting blueprints (industrial sector)

Exploring Technologies (TIJ1O) should aim to build confidence and skills among students and introduce them to other programs such as Cooperative Education, Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), Dual Credit and/or Specialist High Skills Major that would build on their learnings from the grade 9 or 10 courses.

In order to support the implementation of this course as a mandatory requirement in grade 9 or 10, we recommend that MLTSD support the expansion of skilled trade experiential learning programs designed to introduce students to trades from all sectors, such as Rooks to Crooks and Steps to Construction. Educators could leverage these programs as part of the TIJ1O course where they are available.

It is recommended that Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) and Ministry of Education (EDU) work with First Nations and Indigenous Services Canada to consider potential supports for schools located in First Nation communities.  

Soft skills and job readiness four-step module

Delivered within the compulsory grade 10 Career Studies (GLC2O) course, students would be required to complete three of the following modules as part of the course requirements:

  1. It is recommended that MLTSD work with EDU to create online modules focused on building critical soft skills and improving the ‘job readiness’ of secondary school graduates for a career in the skilled trades.
    • understanding the importance of punctuality
    • financial literacy, budgeting and retirement saving
    • interview skills, resume and cover letter writing, and employability skills
    • problem solving and critical thinking (under pressure)
    • developing and understanding work ethic
    • communication skills and etiquette (emails, phone/video calls, active listening, importance of timely responses); and/or
    • other skills and abilities targeted at improving hireability

Where possible each module should use:

  • industry tools and resources
  • interactive videos
  • a variety of mediums to address and encourage the learning needs of all students
  • a diverse representation of presenters

Student entry level health and safety training module

Delivered within the compulsory Exploring Technologies (TIJ1O) course, grade 9 and 10 students would be required to complete the health and safety module as part of the course requirements.

While the content would be at the discretion of the Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) and health and safety partners, the module would focus on the issues that impact entry-level workers and part-time and casual workers (for example, students with a part-time or summer job). Excellent examples exist in the current Health and Safety at Work: Prevention Starts: Worker Health and Safety Awareness in Four Steps which includes the following components:

  1. It is recommended that the Ministry of Education develop a entry-level student Health and Safety module for grade 9 and 10 students in collaboration with the Chief Prevention Officer and other health and safety partners.
    1. Step One: Get on Board (Introduction of the Ontario Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the role of employers, supervisor, worker, etc.)
    2. Step Two: Get in the know (focus on hazards)
    3. Step Three: Get involved (rights, roles, committees, and best practices)
    4. Step Four: Get more help (how to get more info, the right to refuse unsafe work, link to other courses and requirements)

District school board staffing

This full-time, permanent position will act as a main point of contact for employers, industry associations, and other community partners. A Skilled Trades Community Partner Relations Lead would reduce confusion for employers who wish to engage with school boards and help integrate the work of the various board leads that support student exposure to the skilled trades to better align the programs and support a consolidated effort to increase awareness of all skilled trades programs offered in schools for employers, students, educators and parents.

Additional responsibilities include supporting and increasing the engagement of students, including those from underrepresented groups, in cooperative education programs, (such as OYAP and Dual Credit), promote skilled trades programs to employers to further the relationship with employers, and collaborate and assist with other board leads (including Leaders of Experiential Learning, OYAP Coordinators, Cooperative Education Teachers, Technological Education Board Leads, Student Success Leads and Specialist High Skills Major Leads).

  1. It is recommended that Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) work with Ministry of Education (EDU) to establish a Skilled Trade Community Partner Relations Lead at the district school board level, responsible for the coordination and implementation of skilled trades and technological education programs at the secondary level.

Support from employers and industry

  1. In partnership with MLTSD and EDU supports, District School Boards should identify local employers, industry, Training Delivery Agents and other stakeholders willing to donate excess materials and supplies, equipment, or products to secondary schools to support the delivery of skilled trades programming.

Extended hours in child care for skilled trades workers

  1. It is recommended that MLTSD, working with EDU engage local service system managers and licensed child care operators to increase the availability of flexible child care options (for example, offering extended hours for earlier drop offs and later pickup, evening and weekend care).

Part 5: Digital transformation

  1. It is recommended that MLTSD develop a comprehensive, streamlined digital platform to support students, parents, apprentices and sponsors to learn about the skilled trades and pursue an apprenticeship. The platform would include three key sections to reflect the exploration, application and training phases of apprenticeship:

    Online training for employers would be made available through the Apprenticeship Training Recognition program, as detailed in recommendation #6.

    1. Exploration Phase: To support young people and their parents with learning about apprenticeship and skilled trades careers, it is recommend that MLTSD enhance the Ontario Skilled Trades Hub to be a centralized repository of information by:

      Providing labour market data and apprenticeship registration data broken down by:

      • Clearly communicating the various pathways into apprenticeship training, such as OYAP, Pre-apprenticeship training, college techniques programs, and the regular apprenticeship application process.
      • Expanding and regularly updating the quality and accuracy of labour market information for in-demand skilled trades, broken down by geographic region, industry sector, sub-sector and trade.
      • Developing and posting online videos depicting the daily activities of individual skilled trade careers, that includes a diverse representation of people in the trades (beginning with the top In-demand trades).
      • In collaboration with EDU, providing a list of recommended secondary school courses for students, parents, and educators for each of the 144 skilled trades.

        Providing labour market data and apprenticeship registration data broken down by:
        • sector and sub-sector
        • trade
        • career – skilled trades jobs and jobs where incumbents came from a skilled trade
        • geographic location/market/region
        • underrepresented groups including women, Black youth, Indigenous
        • youth, People of Colour, people with a disability and other
        • marginalized groups by:
          • sector
          • trade
          • geographic location
            • The availability of this information will support youth and their parents in determining which skilled trades they may be interested in pursuing.
    2. Application Phase: Simplify and streamline the application process for apprentices and sponsors by:
      1. Ensuring the new digital portal aligns with the format and process for applying to college (Ontario College Application Service) and university (Ontario University Application Centre).
      2. Improving customer service by creating a live chat, which expands staffing hours outside of 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. The chat would allow employers and workers who are unable to access the digital portal website during working hours.
    3. Training Phase: Recognizing that MLTSD has made significant progress in the development of a digital portal to support existing apprentices and sponsors, it is recommended that MLTSD build on this work by developing online Apprenticeship Orientation Modules for new apprentices The modules would be made available on the Digital Portal with a requirement to complete within three months of registration.

      The orientation module for apprentices would include an overview of the apprenticeship pathway, requirements for program completion, a summary of financial incentives and grants, and a description of resources and MLTSD regional offices to obtain additional information.

Part 6: Immediate next steps

  1. Given the breadth of feedback received from our review and the high participation rate from our online survey, it is recommended that:
    1. Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) review our report findings and recommendations and publish our final report publicly.
    2. Conduct further analysis of our consultation survey and publish a report of key findings on
  2. Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development should conduct a thorough analysis of our recommendations and consider how they fit within the recommendations proposed by the Skilled Trades Panel.


There are significant opportunities to enhance Ontario’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system by breaking the stigma, reducing barriers creating more supportive pathways and better supporting the overall success and retention of apprentices.

We believe that the stakeholder-informed recommendations outlined in our report address these key priority areas and if implemented, will contribute to addressing decades-long challenges and will support building a world-class apprenticeship system for Ontario.