Canadian Contractor

Daniel Reale-Chin   

Apprenticeship registrations on the rise

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The number of new registrations for apprenticeship and trade certification programs increased in Canada in 2021, but still remain below pre-pandemic levels.

Number of new registrations and certifications in Canada.
Source: Statistics Canada, Chart 1

New registrations in apprenticeship programs increased by 31.1 per cent in 2021. Certifications in the trades were also up, rising 33.7 per cent. Yet both numbers remained below pre-pandemic levels, reports Statistics Canada. Job vacancies in the trades, transport, and equipment operators and related occupations also hit an all-time high in 2021, nearly doubling since 2019.

The number of new apprentices in construction-related trades like carpentry increased by 46.3 per cent. Millwright apprenticeships increased by 42.9 per cent, plumbing, pipefitting and steamfitting increased by 39 per cent, and electrical apprenticeship figures increased by 37 per cent.

In 2021, Quebec recorded its highest numbers of new registrations on record. The province saw 24,169 new registrations in 2021, a 27.2 per cent increase from the year before. The province has the most extensive apprenticeship system in Canada, according to StatsCan. The increase in Quebec was driven mainly by year-over-year growth in the construction industry, a high demand for housing, strong investment growth in residential construction and employment growth in the trades. Construction-related trades accounted for more than half of the increases in new registrations in Quebec.

New registrations increased by nearly 38 per cent in Ontario, nearly 37 per cent in Alberta, and a little over 20 per cent in British Columbia last year. Growth in Ontario’s and B.C.’s construction industry helped increase in the number of certifications in the trades.


While overall numbers are still behind pre-pandemic figures, the number of women registered for training in many construction-related trades surpassed pre-pandemic levels in 2021. The number of females training to become exterior finishers increased by nearly 57 per cent; carpenters by nearly 30 per cent; and electricians by 27 per cent in 2021. These were the highest numbers of new registrations for women since 1991, when StatsCan began reporting on registered apprenticeship training programs.


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