Canada’s next generation of apprentices and tradespeople will get a fair chance at success—get skills and training they need to get good jobs, earn a good living, and look after their families.

Patty Hajdu, Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour had announced Monday that Canadians, specifically women and Indigenous people, will get this support as the Government of Canada rolls out a plan to help them acquire the skills they need to succeed in a changing economy.

The Union Training and Innovation Program, which will be launched through a call for proposals beginning July 24th, is supported by a $85 million fund for training in the skilled trades that will benefit apprentices and tradespeople through the union-based apprenticeship training, innovation, and enhanced partnerships.

The investment is seen to create a more skilled, mobile, and certified trades workforce who will have access to good quality jobs, which is expected to strengthen Canada’s middle class.

Speaking at a conference hosted by Canada’s Building Trades Union in Gatineau, Quebec, Hajdu said this new program was just one part of the plan “to help Canadians in the middle class, and those working so hard to join it, get good, well-paying jobs,” and “breaking down barriers for women and Indigenous people in pursuing a great career in a skilled trade.”

“We are pleased with the launch of this program. It will support union-based apprenticeship training in Canada and serve to support the development of a future-focused construction workforce, helping meet the needs of our members,” Robert Blakely, the chief operating officer of Canada’s Building Trades Union, said in a statement. 

The program is expected to improve the completion rates of apprenticeship in the country as only 50% of apprentices complete their training and become certified journeypersons with women and Indigenous people facing challenges in completing their training and finding work.

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