Ontario Training Nearly 1,500 People for Plumbing and Piping Careers

Published on April 22, 2022

Workers can earn bigger paycheques building historic projects across Ontario

SARNIA — The Ontario government is working for workers by investing over $11.6 million in two projects that will help nearly 1,500 apprentices and journeypersons upgrade their skills in plumbing, steamfitting, welding, sprinkler fitting, and refrigeration trades to earn bigger paycheques. The investment will also help construction employers find the workers they need to build the province’s highways, hospitals, and schools on time and on budget.

“Across Ontario, businesses continue to see a shortage of skilled workers needed to build our province,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “These projects will help 1,500 hard-working men and women take the next step in their careers so they can earn more take-home pay, provide for their families, and build stronger communities for us all.”

For the first project, the Ontario Pipe Trades Council will be receiving $10.5 million to deliver state-of-the-art training for over 1,000 registered apprentices and journeypersons. The funding will help participants attend virtual and in-class training to upgrade their skills, and support the purchase of specialized equipment, such as spider cranes, so that apprentices can learn proper operating techniques. Training is open to members of the United Association within Ontario.

“The United Association has been an apprenticeship leader since the inception of trade designations in Ontario and across the country,” said Mike Gordon, Director of Canadian Training, United Association Canada. “Within Ontario alone, our UA Local Training centers support upwards of 6,500 Apprentices throughout their journey toward successful completion while simultaneously upskilling an additional 16,000 journeypersons with the best training available in the piping industry. We embrace this responsibility considering it ensures opportunity to our membership and employers alike while also playing a key role in Ontario’s economy and our collective preparedness to meet tomorrow’s workforce demands. We commend the provincial government’s efforts to provide substantial resources to advance this mandate.”

Ontario is also providing $1.1 million in funding for the Joint Training & Apprenticeship Committee (JTAC) Local 46 Training Centre to deliver six-to-eight weeks of training per level of in-class training for 488 apprentices in the plumber, steamfitter, and welder trades. Eligible apprentices will be able to receive income support while attending full-time schooling. They can also apply for financial incentives like a basic living allowance, commuting allowance, and dependent care.

"Today's announcement is another example of how the Ontario government is taking action to ensure our province has the highly skilled workforce that we need to grow our economy and create opportunity," said Bob Bailey, MPP for Sarnia-Lambton. "By supporting our workers in the skilled trades with advanced training, we are making sure that Ontario can meet our critical infrastructure needs and compete on the world stage for future project investments."

For more information or to apply to the Ontario Pipe Trades Council’s project, contact [email protected] or 905-665-3500. Registered apprentices interested in applying to the JTAC training program can contact Vince Kacaba, Director of Training, at 416-759-9351.

Today’s investment is funded in part by Ontario’s Skills Development Fund, a more than $200 million initiative that supports fresh ideas for training that upskill workers and connect them to lucrative careers close to home.

Quick Facts

  • In the fourth quarter of 2021, there were over 304,000 jobs going unfilled in Ontario, including over 20,600 in the construction sector.
  • Plumbers earned an average hourly wage of $30.76 in Ontario in 2021, steamfitters and sprinkler fitters earned $37.25, welders earned $25.81, and HVACR service technicians earned $31.21.
  • Data suggests the need to replace retiring workers is elevated in the skilled trades. In 2016, nearly 1 in 3 journeypersons were aged 55 years or older.
  • Ontario’s Skills Development Fund is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and Government of Ontario.