Canadian Contractor


Electrical contractor can’t hire the staff he needs because of Ontario’s apprenticeship ratios

"We sometimes decide not to bid on jobs because we can't get enough people to do the work," says Dale McDonald, who blames the ratios system.

Casey Edge wrote last week about changes to Canada’s education system being necessary if we are going to produce the next generation of skilled trades.

Here is a post that points to another problem: journeymen/apprentice ratios.

Casey is correct in many ways. Education is critical and, in my humble experience, the school guidance councilors often direct the failing or less “academically successful” students toward skilled trades. Our family electrical contracting company does not want those people. As a customer, do you want the most stupid person doing the electrical work in your home?

Our problem here in Ontario is with ratios. At a three journeyperson to one apprentice ratio (and at one point 6 to 1) we can’t even replace our retiring journeypeople. There is a terrible shortage of licensed electricians and not enough apprentices. We get many many resumes from hopeful applicants who want to become electricians and we need more workers but we can’t hire them due to the ratio.

It is interesting to note that many resumes are from people with university degrees – and sometimes more than one degree. But they have had no luck in securing a meaningful, well paid, satisfying job. This is a barrier to employment.

We sometimes decide not to bid on jobs because we can’t get enough people to do the work. Our government(s) want to import people from other countries (with questionable credentials and experience) to help with the skilled trade shortages. But shouldn’t we be giving our own sons and daughters these jobs first? My suggestion is: during election time be sure to find out which party it is that supports changing ratios to enable more apprentices to get great jobs and vote for them.

Dale MacDonald


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1 Comment » for Electrical contractor can’t hire the staff he needs because of Ontario’s apprenticeship ratios
  1. Alex Goorskhee says:

    By now, I came to the conclusion that the Ontario College of Trades is nothing but an antediluvian self serving self perpetuating monstrosity. As a result there are many of us who after years of dedicated efforts to find work in the field for which we have studied (I have a advanced degree, 3 years, in electrical techniques) are slowly giving up. Two years ago I graduated from such, and all I was ever offered was labor work (at next to minimum wage) with no possibility of making the hours count for many years to come.

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