Ontario is making headway on its longstanding skilled labour shortage.
According to the provincial government, skilled trades apprenticeship registrations have increased by a record 24% in the last year, rising from 21,971 in 2022 to 27,319 in 2023. Alongside the "historic" jump, there has also been a 28% increase in the number of women registrants.
Ontario will require more than 100,000 new skilled trades workers this decade in order to accomplish its ambitious infrastructure plans, including building 1.5 million homes by 2031.
To help attract more young people to the trades, Ontario's skilled trades career fairs will be retuning for a second year, and will be expanding to more cities.
The career fairs provide an opportunity for students in grades 7 to 12 to learn about the 144 skilled trades and meet local employers and tradespeople.
"As we build a stronger Ontario that works for everyone, we need to ensure students and jobseekers know about the rewarding life-long careers waiting for them in the skilled trades," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development.
"There is as much merit in being an electrician or a carpenter as there is in being an architect or a lawyer. I’m thrilled more young people are waking up to the promise of good pay, pensions, and purpose-driven work that the skilled trades offer."
There are currently 1.3 million people working in skilled trades-related occupations in Ontario. However, at least one third of workers with an apprenticeship or trade certificate is aged 55 or over, and nearing retirement.