Ontario’s new apprenticeship ratio a boon to home building industry
The Ontario government’s plans to change the 40-year-old apprenticeship system is welcome news to the home building industry.
“This is a game changer,” says Rick Martins, president of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA). “This means our industry will finally have a system in place to close the trades skills gap across Ontario. This means employers can finally bring apprentices into their small businesses and train the next generation of skilled trades workers. This opens thousands of new opportunities for youth, and people looking for new employment opportunities.”
The new one-to-one ratio, a significant change from the current ratio of 3-to-1, will enable home builders and renovators to more easily hire and train new apprentices.
“The existing apprenticeship system in Ontario includes ratios that are among the most restrictive in Canada – this is why it hampers builders,” OHBA CEO Joe Vaccaro told Homes Publishing. “Most other provinces have had a 1-to-1 ratio for years, and as a result Ontario ranks last in Canada in the number of tradespeople with certification. The high ratio limits Ontario’s ability to compete and remain competitive.”
OHBA says it has been recommending lower apprenticeship ratios for about 10 years, to help make Ontario a competitive training and business jurisdiction and removing a major barrier for young people to enter the skilled trades.
“Ontario will grow by more than 4.3 million people in the next 25 years, and with that there will be an overwhelming need for skilled labour in the building and renovation sector,” says Vaccaro. “With this new apprenticeship plan, our members are now going to be able to hire and train the skilled workers they need to build the new housing choice and supply for future #homebelievers.”
For home builders and renovators employing carpenter apprentices, the current ratio of 3-to-1 means a company must have three licensed journeypersons on staff before they can hire an apprentice.
“This ratio may not be a reality that makes sense how builders and renovators operate their businesses,” says Vaccaro. “For example, they may not have the exact mix of employers to apprentices, or they may want to take on more than one apprentice but not have the proportionate number of staff to support additional apprentices.”