Outdated restrictions limiting apprenticeship opportunities, says report

May 1, 2013

Outdated provincial rules are needlessly limiting the number of apprenticeships available to trades workers, according to a new C. D. Howe report whose authors argue that reforming those tight regulations is crucial to meeting demand for skilled workers. Despite skilled trade workers being a crucial component of Canada's labour force, many employers report shortages of skilled workers such as carpenters and electricians, note the authors. "While federal and provincial governments have targeted many grant and tax credit programs to encourage workers to become apprentices, myriad provincial regulations limit how many apprentices firms may hire," says a co-author. "This red tape is stymieing program efforts and limiting apprenticeship opportunities." Governments set regulations on journeyperson-apprentice ratios and on whether workers must complete a certified apprenticeship to legally work in an occupation. Such rules are meant to protect workers and the general public by encouraging workers to gain the proper training in skilled trades. However, the authors say, entry restrictions are not the best means by which to regulate work quality and safety. Rather than regulating the rate of apprenticeship entry, governments should instead focus on regulating quality of work and safety standards. C.D. Howe News Release | Report