The Ontario government will introduce changes that would help workers in over 30 in-demand professions move here with their families while continuing their careers. The changes, if passed, would tackle Ontario’s historic labour shortage – the largest in a generation – by ensuring out-of-province workers can register in their regulated profession or trade within 30 days.
“At a time when our government is building Ontario, it’s never been more important that we attract more workers to fill in-demand jobs,” said Premier Doug Ford. “To do so, we’re cutting red tape to make it easier for skilled professionals from across Canada to get the papers they need to work in Ontario, faster. This move opens more doors for workers to call Ontario home while contributing to our plan to build more roads, bridges, highways, homes and public transit.”
“I continue to hear from local businesses that there has been difficulty in finding skilled trades workers to meet their current demand,” said MPP Andrea Khanjin. “My goal is to do what I can to help businesses thrive here, and attracting the right talent to Ontario is a huge competitive advantage. It will allow Ontario to continue to grow sustainably while growing the next generation of skilled trades workers.”
“Through most of the pandemic, Hörmann TNR in Barrie, like so many other local employers, has been challenged with labour shortages in our production team,” said Marcus von Reden, President of TNR Doors. “Finding reliable, motivated and dependable workers who can help us manufacture doors and fulfill our backlog of orders is paramount to us. The business cycle is strong and our customers are depending on us to deliver their orders in a timely manner; to do that, we require a stable workforce.”
“Barrie Welding & Machine works for many clients from almost every sector of the economy. The desperate need for skilled technical staff is universal throughout them all,” said Adam Smith, General Manager at Barrie Welding & Machine. “Finding qualified trades people, whether they are from a regulated or unregulated trade, is extremely difficult. Any legislation that will help attract qualified technical people to Ontario, plus make it easier for them to enter our workforce, is a huge win in our opinion. Ontario is the central manufacturing hub of Canada, and it drives a significant portion of our nation’s economy. Technical people are the fuel that feeds that engine, without them we won't be able to continue to grow.”
Unfilled jobs cost the province billions in lost productivity, and between July and September of 2021, there were 338,835 vacant jobs across Ontario, including many in the skilled trades. To give Ontario a competitive advantage, the government plans to introduce legislation that ensures workers from other provinces can get their credentials processed within a service standard of 30 business days. This would make it easier for engineers, auto mechanics, plumbers and several other regulated professionals Ontario needs to move to the province, fill vacant in-demand jobs and drive economic growth.
“Ontario is leading Canada’s economic growth, but I keep hearing from businesses on Main Street who can’t find the workers they need to grow,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “There are hundreds of thousands of paycheques waiting to be collected. That is why our government is working for workers and leading the country with changes that rebalance the scales and make it clear – we want more skilled professionals and tradespeople to come here.”
In addition, the government is proposing to recognize three fuel-related professions under the province’s skilled trades legislation, meaning Ontario will take steps to officially recognize all 55 Red Seal Trades. The Red Seal Program is a partnership between the federal government and provinces and territories that sets a common standard for apprenticeship training and certification and makes it easier for workers to move between provinces and territories. The full list of Red Seal trades, some of which will benefit from the 30-business-day registration period, includes construction electricians, tool and die makers and others. All these workers will play a crucial role in delivering the province’s infrastructure projects on time and on budget.
Further to these measures, the province is also working towards making it easier for workers who have completed fall protection training in another province to come to work in Ontario. This would include allowing them to start to work immediately after completing a refresher course from an accredited Ontario provider. The province’s new agency, Skilled Trades Ontario, is also harmonizing training standards for a dozen trades. This makes it easier for apprentices from other provinces to continue their training in Ontario.
These actions are part of Ontario’s ambitious plan to attract the best workers from across Canada and around the world by making the province the best place to live, work and raise a family. This follows legislation in the fall to remove unfair and discriminatory barriers against foreign-trained professionals, and the “Right to Disconnect” and the banning of non-compete clauses.
The proposed initiatives announced today build on other measures to support workers and their families that the government intends to introduce this winter, which will be unveiled in the coming days.
There are 144 trades currently prescribed under skilled trades legislation in Ontario.
Data suggests that the need to replace retiring workers is elevated in the skilled trades. In 2016, nearly one in three journeypersons in Ontario were aged 55 years or older.
Ontario currently recognizes 52 of the 55 trades covered by the Red Seal program. The three remaining occupations: Gas Fitter Class A, Gas Fitter Class B, and Oil and Heat Systems Technician, are not yet established as skilled trades in Ontario.