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It's 'all hands on deck' to fill skilled labour shortage in Ontario: Ford

Premier was in Halton today to announce funding to train boilermakers

Premier Doug Ford visited Burlington this afternoon to announce a $535,000 investment to help train new boilermakers.

The announcement was made at the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 128 on Sutton Drive, where workers listened as Ford outlined the apprenticeship program.

The program will be led by the Local 128 and the free programs will provide 1,350 participants with the chance for a career as a boilermaker, which can pay up to $38 per hour.

The government is investing $224 million to build and upgrade training centres and help tackle the province’s historic labour shortage. Applications for the new Skills Development Fund (SDF) Capital Stream open on June 30. It will help unions, Indigenous centres and industry associations with funding to build new training centres, or upgrade and convert existing facilities into new training centres with state-of-the-art equipment and technology.

“Our government recognizes the importance of skilled workers,” Ford said. 

“Ontario is facing the largest labour shortage in a generation, and our government is on a mission to help workers train for the well-paying jobs we know are available,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “We will continue to invest in innovative training programs and ground-breaking infrastructure to prepare job seekers for the future of work.”

He said one in 23 boilermakers are 55 or older and nearing retirement. An additional 100,000 more skilled tradesmen are required in the construction sector alone to meet demands.

Ford said this is the fastest growing region in North America and “we need to be able to build…to get it done. “We’re investing $1.5 billion in the skilled trades strategy to train the skilled work forces we need. It’s all hands on deck.”

Boilermakers assemble, install, maintain, and repair boilers, and other large containers that hold liquids and gases. Boilermakers work in various industries, including construction, manufacturing, and shipbuilding. 

In fact, as Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward noted, the first steamship built in the country was built in Ontario.

“This new program will help boost the province’s training infrastructure, providing more people opportunities to learn new skills and advance their careers into good-paying, in-demand jobs,” said Ford. “We’re taking the steps needed to create a bigger pipeline of talent to ensure we continue to have the best workforce in the world to keep attracting investments and to build Ontario.”

He said there are “650,000 more people living here than in 2018, with 380,000 jobs available in every sector; we need 100,000 more skilled trade workers.”

Every day, some 300,000 jobs are going unfilled in Ontario, costing the province billions in lost productivity. The new capital stream will be open to a wide range of applicants in in-demand industries and support facility expansions, renovations, repairs and retrofits, and new building construction. Over their lifetime, these improved training centres are projected to help more than one million workers get the training they need to land better jobs and ensure businesses can find the skilled workforce they need to grow the economy for everyone.

Two projects are funded through the existing SDF, a more than $700 million initiative, which supports ground-breaking programs that connect job seekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying careers close to home.

The first project will give 1,200 high-school students hands-on experience with welding, cutting and rigging work and the opportunity to pursue apprenticeships in the trade. It will prioritize women, Indigenous people and others in rural Northern Ontario communities interested in learning about work in the skilled trades.

A second project will provide free lodging, travel and food for 150 new job seekers from around the province as they begin introductory apprenticeship training. Participants will complete coursework covering rigging, working at heights and construction safety as they prepare to become boilermaker apprentices.

"Today’s launch of the SDF Capital Stream is critically important in addressing the current skills trade deficit that is challenging the future growth of our economy. With Premier Ford’s and Minister McNaughton’s increased focus and promotion of the skilled trades, we have witnessed more and more people entering the skilled trades,” said Jack Oliveira, business manager at Local 183. “The SDF Capital Stream investment into the “bricks and mortar” expansion of our training facilities will increase our capacity to meet this growing demand."

On June 30, workers can find out if they are eligible for the SDF Capital Stream by logging on at

The SDF Capital Stream applications open on June 30 and will be accepted until September 25 at

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Julie Slack

About the Author: Julie Slack

Julie Slack is a Halton resident who has been working as a community journalist for more than 25 years
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