Media Release – Nov 30, 2011
QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario is currently facing the paradox of having high unemployment at the same time as a growing shortage of skilled trades workers.
Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak said today that modernizing Ontario’s apprenticeship system is a practical solution that will help fix both problems by creating 200,000 new skilled trades jobs.
Ontario is losing 100 private-sector jobs every hour, contributing to a jobless rate that has remained above the national average for almost five years.
At the same time, Ontario’s shortage of skilled trades workers – from ironworkers to electricians to plumbers – is reaching an alarming level, and is expected to top one million vacancies within a decade.
The issue is Dalton McGuinty’s refusal to modernize an outdated apprenticeship system that requires businesses to employ three, four or even five journeymen to train a single apprentice – a more restrictive ratio than almost all other provinces in Canada.
Hudak renewed his call today to reduce the ratio of journeymen to apprentices 1-to-1. Reducing the ratio frees up more journeymen to train more apprentices. Those apprentices eventually become journeymen themselves and train apprentices of their own – creating a job creation cycle that would see 200,000 new skilled tradesmen on the job in just four years.
“Yesterday, over 50 apprenticeship students attended Queen’s Park, relating their problems in completing their programs, due to the 3:1 ratios. In fact, during the session, every one of them identified a classmate that had to move to Western Canada to finish their program. We need action now by this Liberal government to fix this ratio issue, address the huge shortage of trades people that is forecasted over the next 5 years and to create 200,000 new, high paying skilled jobs.”
–Jim McDonell, MPP