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Alberta and Ontario buddy up to tackle skilled trades shortage

July 9, 2024 | By Anthony Capkun

July 9, 2024 – The governments of Alberta and Ontario have agreed to work together to address the skilled trades labour shortage.

Alberta’s Minister of Advanced Education, Rajan Sawhney, and Ontario’s Labour Minister, David Piccini, signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see both provinces collaborate on foreign credentials recognition, and post-journeyman credentials and certification.

“By expanding our international credential recognition and working with our partners in the Government of Ontario, we can welcome more talented individuals and ensure our economy remains competitive and dynamic,” said Sawhney.

Under the MOU, the provinces will work together to share expertise and information, and explore an international credential recognition framework for skilled trades that will enhance this process and support mobility between these jurisdictions. A common framework could lead to more internationally skilled workers with verified credentials to write the certifying exam.

International credential recognition is the process of verifying that the education, skills, and experience obtained in another country meet the licensure standards for safe and competent practice in Canada.

“Working together with Alberta, we’re sharing knowledge and expertise on international credential recognition, removing barriers to skilled workers filling in-demand jobs, and building our communities,” said Piccini.

Ontario is seeking ways to open pathways into the trades for more apprentices and remove barriers for internationally trained workers to fill in-demand labour needs locally.

Meantime, Alberta seeks to expand its list of international credentials to address gaps in the skilled labour market and fill openings in high-demand fields.

This partnership between Alberta and Ontario aims to help expand offerings of post-journeyman certifications to support graduates of apprenticeship programs in upskilling and achieving pathways to further their career prospects.

Skilled Trades Ontario (STO) is responsible for assessing whether the experience and qualifications obtained by applicants for an Ontario Certificate of Qualification are equivalent to those received through completing an Ontario apprenticeship program.

“This MOU will allow Ontario and Alberta to better fill short- and long-term needs for skilled tradespeople,” said Melissa Young, Registrar and CEO, Skilled Trades Ontario. “We’re eager to enhance worker mobility and strategic recruitment for the benefit of both provinces.”

STO’s Trade Equivalency Assessment is the first step toward obtaining a C.Q. for experienced workers who have not completed an Ontario apprenticeship but who have equivalent skills and experience.

Alberta’s Ministry of Advanced Education is mandated to act as the province’s lead advocate and champion of the skilled trades and professions. International credential recognition and post-journeyman credentials and certification are key to helping the ministry meet several of its mandate items.

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