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Archived - Federal and provincial governments work together to help apprentices in Atlantic Canada

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November 7, 2014– Halifax, Nova Scotia – Employment and Social Development

The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, and the Council of Atlantic Premiers today announced that apprenticeship requirements in six new trades will be harmonized across the Atlantic provinces: carpenter, welder, metal fabricator, steamfitter-pipefitter, plumber and industrial electrician. This is in addition to work that has already started on previously announced trades. As a result, Canadians apprenticing in these 10 trades will have access to consistent training, certification and standards, leading to more job opportunities and greater mobility while helping address skills shortages in this region.

By providing support for this project, the federal and provincial governments are helping to harmonize trades that affect 60 percent of apprentices in the Atlantic region. This will complement work already underway to harmonize training and certification requirements in an initial set of 10 targeted Red Seal trades across Canada and ensure that apprentices are getting the training and experience they need to complete their apprenticeship.

Canada currently has 13 different apprenticeship systems across the country with different requirements for training, certification and standards. These inconsistences mean that apprentices who wish to move to another province to continue or complete their training are often unable to do so because the systems can be so different. At the same time, employers wishing to recruit new apprentices from out of province face similar challenges.

Additionally, Economic Action Plan 2014 has several measures to ensure training reflects the needs of the labour market and Canadians have the skills to take advantage of the jobs and opportunities available to them. Starting this coming January, the Canada Apprentice Loan, will provide up to $4,000 in interest-free loans per period of technical training for apprentices in a Red Seal trade.

Quick facts

  • This project received over $4.3 million from the Government of Canada and over $3.5 million from the governments of the Atlantic provinces. This initiative, which is a first in Canada, will ensure apprentices can more easily train and work towards completing their certification anywhere in Canada.
  • The Atlantic Apprenticeship Harmonization Project will focus on a new set of six trades: carpenter, welder, metal fabricator, steamfitter-pipefitter, plumber and industrial electrician. This is in addition to four previous trades: bricklayer, cook, instrumentation and control technician, and construction electrician.
  • Western provinces have also initiated work to identify and remove barriers to apprentice mobility.
  • At the national level, the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship has undertaken work to align apprenticeship requirements in 10 Red Seal trades.


“Our government’s top priority is creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. That is why we are working with the Atlantic provinces to remove barriers caused by different apprenticeship systems; so that we can help more Canadians get the skills and experience they need and benefit from well-paid, in-demand jobs. Harmonizing apprenticeship requirements in Atlantic Canada will improve completion rates, address skills shortages and create jobs for apprentices.”

– The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development

“I am pleased to see the Atlantic region leading the way for the rest of Canada by helping remove the various existing restrictions around apprentice training and mobility. This project is an example of how collaboration can benefit both employers and skilled tradespeople, thus having a positive economic impact on communities in the Atlantic provinces, and therefore Canada.”

– The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Member of Parliament for Fredericton, New Brunswick

“Our government is committed to strengthening access and exposure to trades and apprenticeships. Collaborating with our Atlantic partners to harmonize our respective apprenticeship systems is an important initiative which will allow skilled workers to come to our province more easily, contributing to economic growth and job creation in New Brunswick.”

– The Honourable Francine Landry, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, New Brunswick

“The harmonization of apprenticeship programs being offered throughout Atlantic Canada will help increase the mobility of apprentices, as well as the efficiencies in apprenticeship systems within Newfoundland and Labrador and the other three Atlantic provinces. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador looks forward to continuing this partnership as we move towards harmonizing 10 skilled trades, which will ultimately provide additional employment opportunities for our apprentices.”

– The Honourable Kevin O’Brien, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills, Newfoundland and Labrador

“The growth of our province and our region depends on our ability to produce a skilled workforce. Aligning apprenticeship training and certification across the region will give our apprentices better access to training and make sure we have the skilled workers we need today and in the future.”

– The Honourable Kelly Regan, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education and Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

“A skilled workforce is vital for a thriving economy. By harmonizing our apprenticeship programs, we are helping to create a stronger, more consistent workforce, as well as increasing labor mobility within the Atlantic region. We are working to create an environment where young people, entering into a trade, can find training and employment opportunities close to home.”

– The Honourable Allen Roach, Minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning, Prince Edward Island

Associated links


Alexandra Fortier
Office of Minister Kenney

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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