Ontario Construction News staff writer
Apprenticeship registrations jumped more than 30 per cent last year and trades certifications in the trades jumped 34 per cent in 2021, however, according to a Statistics Canada report, numbers are still below pre-pandemic levels.
Increases are happening while job vacancies are at record levels and unemployment at historically low rates.
The highest increases were:
- carpenters (+46.3%)
- heavy duty equipment mechanics (+45.9%)
- refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics (+42.9%)
- millwrights (+42.0%)
- plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters (+39.0%)
- electricians (+37.0%)
Also, Statistics Canada reports the number of women entering the trades is increasing with 8,688 new registrations and 4,821 certifications by female apprentices in 2021 – still well below 2019 levels for new registrations in apprenticeship programs (-17.1%) and certifications in the trades (-24.4%).
Women made significant gains in construction-related apprenticeship programs where they have been historically underrepresented:
- exterior finishing (+56.5%)
- carpenters (+29.8%)
- electricians (+27.0%)
- interior finishing (+25.8%)
- refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics (+25.0%)
The transition of women from public-facing, service-based trades into other industries could lead to stronger outcomes for female apprentices because of the higher earnings in many of these occupations, Statistics Canada concluded.
Quebec reported its highest number of new registrations on record (24,169) – a year-over-year increase of 5,169 (27.2%), driven by high demand for housing, strong investment growth in residential construction, and employment growth in the trades.
Ontario (+4,317, or +32.7%), Alberta (+2,811, or +36.6%), and British Columbia (+2,148, or +20.7%) had the next-highest increases in new registrations.
Growth in the construction industry in Ontario (+6.6%) and British Columbia (+3.6%) helped these provinces, at least partly, to post increases in the number of certifications in the trades. Certifications in Ontario (+23.3%) were mostly accounted for by increases in electricians (+34.4%) and automotive services (+23.0%).