Feds announce $42 million for Quebec apprentices

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CaDCR staff writer

To attract more young people, women and under-represented groups to pursue careers in the skilled trades, the Government of Canada has announced more than $42 million for Quebec apprentices through the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy.

“Women are increasingly present on construction sites, reaching a record figure of some 7,500 workers in Quebec by 2023,” said Carl Dufour, president of CSD Construction. However, around 60% of them leave the sector after five years. To improve retention, CSD Construction has developed an innovative program that offers coaching, guidance, training and financial support, while combating psychological and sexual harassment.

“We know that retaining women workers in the industry requires training and workplace support. Our project will promote the recruitment, induction, integration and job retention of women apprentices in the construction trades.”

Funding includes $39.4 million over five years to the Government of Quebec, so that organizations including professional and technical training institutions, Indigenous and not-for-profit organizations, and private sector employer groups will be able to benefit from funding to support investments in modern and up-to-date training equipment and materials.

Innovation and enhanced partnerships to help improve apprenticeship outcomes. Between 2,000 and 5,000 Red Seal apprentices, including individuals from under-represented groups, are expected to benefit from this funding each year in Quebec.

More than $940,000 will go to the Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (CSD) to reduce barriers and increase access to Red Seal Trades in Quebec by supporting learning activities such as information workshops across schools and facilitating mentoring collaborations.

Also, $2.5 million will go to the Syndicat québécois de la construction (SQC) is helping them partner with recruiting firms to hire women apprentices, provide career development training and a wraparound supports to encourage retention and create a welcoming space to help women feel safe.

Budget 2024 and Canada’s Housing Plan have charted a path to unlocking 3.87 million new homes by 2031. As part of the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy, the Government of Canada is making targeted investments to recruit, retain and train a diverse and inclusive skilled trades workforce that will have the right technical and green skills to build the country’s housing supply and grow tomorrow’s low-carbon economy.

Each year, the Government of Canada invests nearly $1 billion in apprenticeship supports through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training, project funding, and support for the Red Seal Program. This includes over $27 million over five years through a national agreement, from 2022 to 2027, and over $23 million through a regional agreement from 2020 to 2025, for Skills Canada to continue engaging with youth across the country.

“Thanks to this grant, the Syndicat québécois de la construction is contributing to the success of women apprentices in Red Seal trades across Quebec by promoting diversity and equity in the workplace, not only among women, but also among employers,” said Charles-Olivier Picard, General Manager of the Syndicat québécois de la construction. “The Projet Initiatives Femmes du SQC is a unifying, inclusive project tailored to women construction workers. It includes a working women’s committee made up of tradeswomen, events for women throughout Quebec, financial support to encourage the pursuit of a training program, personalized accompaniment and resources to promote welcoming and integration.

“At SQC, every woman should feel proud, accomplished and competent as a construction worker.”

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