Ottawa, Ontario — Registration in apprenticeship programs and certifications in the trades have been on a decrease since 2018, as losses in Alberta offset gains in Ontario and Quebec.
Statistic Canada recently reported that registration in apprenticeship programs fell 2.9 per cent, and certifications were down 3.9 per cent.
Before the pandemic, the number of new registrations in apprenticeship programs in Canada fell 2.9 per cent from 2018 to 77,673 new registrations in 2019. The report released was said to provide a baseline for examining COVID-19’s impact on apprenticeship programs across the country.
Over three-quarters of the decline occurred in Alberta, where the number of new registration in apprenticeships fell by almost one-quarter (down 2,832) to 11,607 in 2019; the lowest level in a decade. New registrations in Alberta decreased in 20 of the 21 major trade groups, led by electricians (minus 45), plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters (down 358) ad interior finishing (minus 252)
According to the survey of employment, payrolls and Hours, Alberta had the slowest employment growth (+0.7%) among the provinces in 2019. Employment in Alberta was down sharply in industries where apprenticeships are most concentrated, such as construction (-4.0 percent) and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (-4.0 percent).
Meanwhile, the construction industry in Quebec (+5.7 percent) and Ontario (+2.0 percent) experienced strong employment growth in 2019. This helped new registrations in apprenticeship programs to reach a 10-year high in Quebec (23,568) and a 5-year high in Ontario (20,991).
Investments in infrastructure projects in Ontario in recent years have coincided with increases in new registrations for electricians (up 321), plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters (240), and refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics (231).
Despite employment and economic growth in recent years, the annual number of newly certified tradespeople across Canada declined 3.9 per cent to 52,367 in 2019, following a 6.6 per cent gain in 2018.
Over half of the overall decline occurred in Alberta, where the number of certifications fell by 1,266 to a decade low of 7,665.