Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

November 23, 2007 08:00 ET

Apprenticeship Completion Rates in Drastic Decline says OFL

Statscan Report Shows Drastic Sectoral Decline This is a Wake-Up call for Governments says OFL

Attention: Assignment Editor, Education Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 23, 2007) - The recent report from Statistics Canada on Apprenticeship should be understood as a wake-up call for provincial and federal governments - especially in Ontario.

Although the Report shows an increase in the number of people pursuing apprenticeship training, the completion rates have been virtually stagnant since 1992. In some sectors, there has been a decline.

"Stagnant and declining completion rates speaks to a serious problem that must be addressed immediately if government and employers are serious about improving the jobs prospects for Canadians," said Irene Harris, secretary-treasurer of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL).

According to the StatsCan report, since 1992 there has been a whopping 12.5 percent decline in the completion rates in the crucial industrial and mechanical trades.

"The loss of manufacturing jobs in Ontario and Canada is one of the key reasons that Canada is failing to produce qualified trades people," said Harris. "The fact is apprentices are employees. If there are no jobs - and Ontario has lost over 250,000 of manufacturing and industrial jobs - there cannot be apprentices employed and learning the trade."

Although registrations are increasing, the Ontario Federation of Labour notes that the Ontario government should be very concerned that the largest increases in registered apprenticeships reported by Statistics Canada were in the categories of "food and services" and "other".

According to the OFL, during the 1990s, the Mike Harris government introduced legislation that allowed companies to hire employees, designate them as "apprentices" and receive a subsidy from government known as the "Apprenticeship Tax Credit". Today, the Ontario government considers employees installing hot tubs and working at call centres to be apprentices.

"When parents encourage their kids to learn a trade, most would be shocked to learn that today, working a help desk at a call centre now qualifies as a trade," said Harris. According to the Ontario Federation of Labour, there are over 3,000 call centre employees listed by the Ontario government as apprentices.


/For further information: Dana Boettger
OFL Communications

Contact Information

  • Irene Harris, OFL Secretary-Treasurer
    Primary Phone: 416-347-0454
    Secondary Phone: 416-443-7651
    Toll-Free: 800-668-9138