Skip to content

Province announces $7M for trades training

The provincial government announced millions intended to address worker shortages in the trades, with a focus on Indigenous participation.

THUNDER BAY — Over $7 million in provincial funding will support eight training projects across Northern Ontario meant to fill crucial worker shortages and boost Indigenous participation.

The government says the training programs will prepare 1,700 workers for careers in sectors like mining, logging, construction, healthcare, and tourism.

The programs will offer a variety of tailored supports like mentorships, paid job placements, and mental health resources, as well as transportation and accommodation.

David Piccini, the province's minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development, announced the funding at the Ironworkers Local 759 headquarters on Alloy Drive.

The funding was delivered through Ontario’s Skills Development Fund training stream, which will accept further applications from organizations with ideas on how to address hiring, training, and retention challenges until Nov. 17.

The government says it has invested around $860 million through the fund.

The $7.3 million announced Wednesday includes:

  • $197,686 for Ironworkers Local 759 to provide 100 participants in Thunder Bay with free, in-class training
  • $1.4 million for Indigenous Tourism Ontario to deliver training to 865 people in Northern Ontario, preparing them for careers in the tourism and hospitality sector
  • $2.3 million for the Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord to train 62 local Indigenous workers as underground miners, environmental field monitors, or AZ drivers in the mining industry, in partnership with Confederation College and other training institutions
  • $891, 516 for Anishinabek Employment & Training Services to prepare 30 Indigenous workers for careers in the mining sector
  • $961,000 for Ksalsuti Wellness Resources to train 25 Indigenous people in Kenora in first emergency response, personal support work, and other health care skills
  •  $715,429 for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1687 to provide virtual skilled trades and apprenticeship training to 250 participants in Northern Ontario, with a focus on increasing Indigenous representation

More details, and contact information for those interested in applying to the programs, are available online.

Adam McGillivray, business manager for Ironworkers Local 759, said the funding will help his union double the six welding booths they currently offer on Alloy Drive, and ultimately contribute to their goal of becoming a local training centre.

Apprentices currently travel to Sault Ste. Marie for training.

He sees a clear need for more workers, thanks to a mining boom and projects like the waterfront art gallery and new district jail.

“With the work that’s coming up in this area, we need to expand,” he said. “We need to create more iron workers, for sure.”

Philippe Fournier, an apprentice ironworker with Local 759, said he sees evidence of that at local job sites.

“With some of the jobs I’ve seen recently in my trade, there’s a shortage,” he said. “You go to man up a job and you need five or six people, and it’s not there. You call, and everybody is working at other jobs. The need is there, for sure.”

Piccini said opening up training spots is just one part of the equation, alongside increasing interest in trades careers in schools, for example.

“Without question, there is a stigma associated with the skilled trades, and we’re bashing that down as a government, saying that when you have a job in the trades, you’ve got a job for life,” he said.

Ian Kaufman

About the Author: Ian Kaufman

Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks