Ontario invests in training electricians to tackle labour shortage in Niagara Region

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Ontario is ramping up efforts to address the pressing labour shortage in the construction industry by investing in the training of new Electrical Construction workers for in-demand careers in the Niagara Region. Through a partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 303, the government has allocated $672,700 from the Ontario Skills Development Fund (SDF) to implement the Job Readiness Program aimed at up-skilling local apprentices and jobseekers.

“As Ontario faces the largest labour shortage in a generation, our government is delivering on our commitment to build up our workforce and grow our economy,” stated David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Together with our union partners, we’re creating training opportunities for Ontarians to develop the skills for well-paying, highly in-demand careers and land a better job with a bigger paycheck.”

The Job Readiness Program, spearheaded by IBEW 303, provided 16 apprentices with comprehensive training in basic electrical and safety skills, along with financial literacy, mentorship, and job placement resources. Moreover, participants gained hands-on experience through paid work placements on various jobsites across the Niagara Region. This initiative comes in response to the significant demand for electricians in Ontario, with nearly 1,500 job vacancies recorded in the fourth quarter of 2023.

“IBEW Local 303 proudly announces the second round of government funding for our skilled trades training program ‘Wiring the Future.’ This initiative offers enhanced training and career development in the electrical trade. Thanks to the continued government support, we’re empowering a new generation with the skills needed for industry success,” expressed Mark Cherney, Business Manager of IBEW Local 303.

The initiative aligns with Ontario’s broader strategy to address the skilled labour shortage, as outlined in the 2024 Budget: Building a Better Ontario. The government has allocated an additional $100 million through the SDF to further boost the trades workforce, bringing the total SDF investment in Ontario to nearly $1 billion.

electriciansWith more than 22,700 job vacancies recently recorded in the Hamilton-Niagara region alone and an estimated 61,000 electricians employed in Ontario in 2023, initiatives like the Job Readiness Program are crucial in bridging the skills gap and sustaining the growth of the construction industry in the province.

The Skills Development Fund Training Stream, which supports programs like the Job Readiness Program, operates through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. It aims to equip jobseekers with the necessary skills and training to secure well-paying careers in their local communities.


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