By Canadian Contractor staff
Skilled Trades Ontario launches framework of first strategic planCanadian Contractor
May 9, 2023 – Ontario’s skilled trades agency has unveiled a strategic framework that aims to shape the future of apprenticeship in the province. The framework was shared with over 250 industry leaders, educators, and apprentices for feedback at Skilled Trades Ontario’s first-ever industry summit on apprenticeship, held at the Toronto Congress Centre.
“The labour shortage is a critical challenge for Ontario – and it is more pressing now than ever before,” said Melissa Young, CEO/Registrar, Skilled Trades Ontario, in a press release. “With one in five jobs predicted to be in the skilled trades by 2026, we need to take action to attract and inspire the next generation of skilled trades professionals. Our strategic plan will provide a clear roadmap for driving growth in the sector and positioning Ontario as a leader in apprenticeship.”
Skilled Trades Ontario’s new strategic framework is built on four pillars to guide the agency’s work over the next three years:
- Supporting an innovative apprenticeship and certification model
- Promoting and advancing the skilled trades
- Facilitating research in the skilled trades
- Building a diverse, equitable, inclusive skilled trades sector
The event featured remarks from Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, Deepak Anand, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, Michael Sherrard, Board Chair, Skilled Trades Ontario, Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity and Dan Mills, Deputy Minister, New Brunswick Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour.
“The skilled trades industry is the backbone of our economy, and we need to prepare the next generation for these life-changing careers,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government has tasked Skilled Trades Ontario with a clear mandate to simplify the system and bring the skilled trades system in our province into the 21st century.”
Stakeholders were invited to provide their feedback into the pillars of the strategic plan throughout the day. Sessions included a fireside chat attended by apprentices, employers, educators, and labour organization representatives, as well as an interactive, facilitated workshop discussion.
Topics raised by event attendees included simplifying apprenticeship pathways, promoting the variety of career opportunities in the skilled trades, taking an informed, data-driven approach to decision-making, and the need to prioritize partnerships with equity-deserving communities, youth, and Indigenous peoples to improve diversity in the sector.
“Ontario is facing a significant challenge, and we recognize that we cannot overcome it alone,” said Melissa Young. “The insights we heard at our industry summit will impact the direction of our strategic plan for the better. We remain committed to working closely with our partners as we embark on our ambitious three-year plan to position Ontario as the number one destination for skilled trades professionals.”