Training & Education
Canadian Construction Association weighs in on skills training discussions
By Anthony Capkun
November 8, 2013 – The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) says it is pleased federal and provincial skills ministers are meeting to discuss a better approach to labour market training, apprenticeship and skills development across Canada, but believes there are a number of issues to be addressed to enhance and improve apprenticeship in Canada.
For example, CCA says a lack of capacity at community colleges remains a concern of the industry, and should remain an important consideration to address shortages in skilled trades. While the Knowledge Infrastructure Program helped upgrade many training institutions across the country, ongoing attention needs to be paid to this issue, warns CCA—particularly in high-demand programs and where shortages exist—to ensure there is capacity to pursue apprenticeship training.
CCA also believes increased and further financial support for apprentices while in school would encourage continuing apprenticeship training. Also, the implementation of a mobility tax credit would help offset costs associated with relocation for apprentices to areas of the country where work exists.
The current federal employer tax credit for apprentices is an ineffective incentive for employers, insists CCA; it needs to be broadened and enhanced to encourage greater employer engagement with apprentices. Also, the insertion of quotas or contract conditions on government construction contracts is a counterproductive mechanism to encourage the greater use of apprentices, adds CCA, as it may discourage potential employers from participation in publicly tendered contracts.
Now the positive: CCA applauds the work of the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship and others in recent years to enhance the Red Seal Program, harmonize apprenticeship training systems and improve interprovincial mobility, “and we encourage this work to continue”.
The Canadian Construction Association represents over 20,000 members involved in the non-residential construction industry, consisting of some 64 local and provincial construction associations.