Construction trades in the federal budget

February 28, 2018 (Ottawa) – The Canadian Building Trades Unions applauds the Trudeau Government’s third budget as it supports many important initiatives with the construction trade sector.

“When the Finance Minister began his speech by talking about Joan the Plumber and her path towards entering that trade, I knew that the government has been listening to us,” said Robert Blakely, Canadian operating officer for the Canadian Building Trades Union.

The finance minister wants to encourage women to pursue careers in male-dominated Red Seal trades, and to ensure that women are increasingly able to model leadership to other aspiring female tradespeople. The government is allocating $19.9 million over 5 years to pilot an Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women. Women would receive $3,000 for each of their first two years of training. Along with the existing Apprenticeship Completion Grant of $2,000, women are now eligible to receive up to $8,000 in grants.

The Government of Canada is also proposing to introduce a new Pre-Apprenticeship Program. This program will encourage underrepresented groups – including but not limited to women, Indigenous Peoples, newcomers and persons with disabilities – to explore careers in the skilled trades. The government is investing $46 million over five years for the Pre-Apprenticeship Program.

“The CBTU recognizes that the industry needs to recruit and train new workers and that is why we prioritize on our Build Together Workforce Development initiative within our organization, where we focus on underrepresented groups of the population,” said Blakely. “Therefore, the initiative that the government announced is a mirror of what the CBTU is currently doing and that makes for a great partnership opportunity,” continued Blakely.

“The Government of Canada has recognized the importance in investing in people and their budget reflects it,” said Robert Kucheran, chairman of the Canadian Executive Board of CBTU and general vice president of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. “I look forward to continuing the conversation with the various ministers on these new initiatives. The Canadian Building Trades Unions will work with the Trudeau government in achieving success on these priorities,” said Kucheran.