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Skilled Trades Ontario officially launches; Melissa Young at the helm

January 25, 2022 | By Anthony Capkun

January 25, 2022 – As we reported back in May 2021—and now come to fruition—the Ontario government has officially launched Skilled Trades Ontario.

The new Crown agency aims to improve trades training and simplify services. It will “promote and market the trades, develop the latest training and curriculum standards, and provide a streamlined user-friendly experience for tradespeople”.

“We’re redrawing the system to address Ontario’s labour shortage and make the trades a career of choice for more people,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “By creating this new agency, we are working for workers and delivering the generational change that labour leaders and employers have been calling for.”

“I commend this government for bringing generational change that will remove the stigma surrounding the trades, cut down on red tape, and ensure all young people know these jobs offer a clear path to a better life,” said the agency’s new CEO and Registrar, Melissa Young.


Prior to this appointment, Young served as executive director of NETCO (National Electrical Trade Council), which is jointly sponsored by IBEW Canada and the Canadian Electrical Contractors Association (CECA) to address workforce development for Red Seal electrical trades.

Young also served on the province’s 5-member Skilled Trades Panel to provide advice and recommendations to Minister McNaughton on developing “a new approach to training and certification”.

“The IBEW CCO congratulates Minister Monte McNaughton on the launch of Skilled Trades Ontario. We looks forward to working with both the CEO and the board on the important work of strengthening Ontario’s trades training system,” said James Barry, executive secretary treasurer, IBEW Construction Council of Ontario.

New online services through Skilled Trades Ontario will help apprentices manage their careers in one place with a one-stop-shop for scheduling classes and exams, submitting forms, paying fees and more, says the ministry. These changes will reduce the skilled labour shortage the province currently faces, adds the ministry, by making it easier for more people to learn about and enter the trades, including reducing processing and registration times for applicants from 60 days to 12.

An independent board of directors will lead the agency in delivering on the government’s Skilled Trades Strategy to break the stigma surrounding the trades, simplify the system, and encourage employers to hire more apprentices.

“The creation of Skilled Trades Ontario is an important milestone, and one I am thrilled to be a part of leading,” said Michael Sherrard, chair, Skilled Trades Ontario. “The implementation of a successful apprenticeship and skilled trades system is critical to the economic growth and success of our province, and today’s announcement is the next step in securing that future for us all.”

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