The Ontario government is working for workers by investing more than $13 million to provide free training and paid electricians’ apprenticeships for more than 2,500 people across the province who are unemployed or looking to earn bigger paychecks. With over $2 billion in infrastructure projects on the horizon, Ontario faces a shortage of electricians and other skilled trades workers. This investment will help the province deliver critical hospitals, schools, and roads on time and on budget.
“When you have a job as an electrician, you have an in-demand job for life,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “I continue to hear from students and parents who don’t know how to enter this incredible field – which can pay over $50 an hour. That is why our government is investing over $1.5 billion in programs like this, which break down barriers and connect young people to lifechanging careers in the skilled trades.”
“The world runs on electricity and as our economy recovers and Ontario invests in building hospitals, schools and roads, we need a good supply of electricians,” said MPP Andrea Khanjin. “Building up the supply of homes is a focus of mine and of the Ontario government, and electricians will be needed for this effort. The investments announced today in training and apprenticeships for electricians will bring meaningful careers and help us build homes right here in Barrie Innisfil.”
Today’s investment is for nine projects across Ontario. Two of the projects are being delivered by the Ontario Electrical Industry Training Trust Fund who are training nearly 300 people for jobs as construction and industrial electricians and cabling specialists. The training focuses on safety, best practices for installation, and other skills crucial skills for electricians. At the end of the program, participants will be offered employment as the first step toward securing well paying, meaningful careers to build better lives for themselves and their families.
“This funding announcement will help apprentices access the best training possible to address the growing need by employers for Network Cabling Specialists,” said James Barry, Executive Secretary Treasurer, IBEW CCO. “As technology continues to evolve, this in-demand trade not only provides a fulfilling career for young people and underrepresented populations, but their skills will be critical to helping build and sustain Ontario’s infrastructure well into the future. I commend Minister McNaughton for continuing to promote high training and safety standards in the skilled trades.”
The government’s investment will also go toward financial incentives that encourage employers to hire more apprentices and promote the electrical trades to underrepresented groups. The funding is part of Ontario’s over $200 million Skills Development Fund, launched to support innovative training projects that upskill workers and connect them to lucrative careers in their communities.
Data suggest the need to replace retiring workers is elevated in the skilled trades. In 2016, nearly 1 in 3 journeypersons were aged 55 years or older.
Between July 2021 and September 2021, there were 338,835 job vacancies (unfilled jobs) in Ontario. About 8% (25,495) of all vacancies in Ontario were in the construction sector.
Construction electricians earned an average hourly wage of $34.32 in Ontario in 2021, industrial electricians $36.12, electrical powerline and cable workers $38.90, and power systems electricians $47.21.
Ontario’s Skills Development Fund is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and Government of Ontario.