Government of Canada invests in training to help Canadians in Burnaby, British Columbia, become certified in skilled trades

News release

March 9, 2021              Burnaby, British Columbia              Employment and Social Development Canada

In order to help maintain a robust workforce and better position our country for a strong economic recovery, the Government of Canada is investing in the skilled trades to ensure that Canadians have the training they need to access good, well-paying jobs. The government is making targeted investments, so that key groups facing barriers—like women, newcomers, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and Black and racialized Canadians—can better find work in the skilled trades through projects led by unions and their partner organizations.

Today, Member of Parliament for Burnaby North-Seymour and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, Terry Beech, on behalf of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced an investment of close to $ 4.7 million for a SkillPlan-led project under the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) that will help local apprentices in Burnaby succeed in the skilled trades. This funding is part of the Government of Canada’s $62 million investment over five years to help develop a highly qualified skilled trades workforce, and prepare Canadians to fill available jobs as our economy restarts.

The UTIP supports union-based apprenticeship training and works to reduce barriers to participation and success in Red Seal trades. The first stream, Investments in Training Equipment, helps unions across Canada improve the quality of training through investments in equipment and materials. The second stream, Innovation in Apprenticeship, supports innovation and strengthens partnerships to address challenges that are limiting apprenticeship outcomes in Canada.

Funded under Stream 2 of the UTIP, SkillPlan will develop a one-stop online training and support system for diverse apprentices including educational resources, tutoring and mentoring, as well as tools for employers to create more inclusive workplaces. The goal is to proactively address the various challenges and skills gaps that exist at all levels of apprenticeship training. The project is expected to help about 5,000 apprentices.

In the 2020 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada committed to making historic investments in training and to creating more than 1 million jobs to get Canadians back to work, restoring employment to pre‑pandemic levels. Providing immediate and comprehensive training through initiatives like the UTIP will help achieve these goals.


“As we continue to fight COVID-19, our support for workers remains strong. Skilled tradespeople across the country have been critical to essential sectors during this pandemic, and they will continue to be so as Canada moves toward economic recovery. This investment will help Canadians, including Canadians from key groups facing barriers, get the training they need to launch exciting and well-paying careers in the trades.”
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

“Skilled tradespeople are a key component of Canada’s workforce, and are vital to the strength and diversity of our local economies. This investment will help create a pool of qualified tradespeople in Burnaby, North Vancouver, and in communities across the Lower Mainland who are ready to take on in-demand jobs during the economic recovery.”
– Terry Beech, Member of Parliament for Burnaby North-Seymour and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard

“We would like to thank the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, and MP Terry Beech for supporting this important initiative. There is growing demand for skilled trades and a demonstrated need to increase the pool of diverse candidates, and this one-stop online training and support system will help facilitate the entry, retention and advancement of underrepresented groups in the unionized construction industry.”
– Kyle Downie, Chief Executive Officer, SkillPlan

Quick facts

  • Through the UTIP, the Government of Canada provides $25 million annually to support union-based apprenticeship training, innovation and enhanced partnerships in the Red Seal trades.
  • Demand for skilled tradespeople is expected to remain strong as the economy moves toward recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 2019 and 2028, about 700,000 skilled trades workers are also expected to retire. Meeting these demands will require the recruitment and training of thousands of additional skilled workers.
  • Young women continue to be less likely to express interest in a career in the skilled trades. According to a survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, only 2% of 15-year-old female students indicated they were planning to pursue a career in the skilled trades.
  • The Government of Canada invests significantly in apprenticeships through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training, project funding and support for the Red Seal program. The Government is also working with the provinces and territories to harmonize apprenticeship training requirements in targeted Red Seal trades.

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Marielle Hossack
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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