Minister Kenney congratulates winners of 20th annual Skills Canada National Competition

MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 7, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, today congratulated and presented awards to winners at the closing ceremonies of the 20th annual Skills Canada National Competition. Hosted by Skills/Compétences Canada, the annual competition promotes careers in skilled trades and technologies to Canadian youth and features over 500 of Canada's best young competitors in 42 different areas.

Minister Kenney spoke about the Government of Canada's strong belief that a career in the skilled trades should have as much value and worth as a university degree.  To that end, the Government of Canada is encouraging and helping Canadians pursue a career in the skilled trades with measures like the new Canada Apprentice Loan, the Canada Job Grant, grants, and tax credits.

A strong supporter of Skills/Compétences Canada, Minister Kenney announced over $14 million in federal funding over the next three years to help the organization maintain its important work. Of the total, more than $1.4 million will be used to promote the importance of literacy and essential skills in finding employment, while over $12.8 million will go towards supporting skills competitions and the continued promotion of the value of careers in trades and technology.  By investing in skills development for today's youth, the Government is supporting the long-term growth and prosperity of Canada's economy.

Quick Facts

  • Top medal winners of this national competition may have the chance to compete in the next World Skills Competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil in August 2015.
  • Skills/Compétences Canada reports that Canada will need one million skilled trade workers by 2020.
  • The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum's 2013 youth perception survey indicated that almost 40 percent of youth had considered a career in the trades. However, young people continue to perceive university as first choice. Government and employers need to do more to encourage youth to pursue careers in the skilled trades.
  • The Government of Canada is providing more information on job prospects and the benefits of working in the skilled trades, science, technology, engineering and mathematics to promote education in these high-demand fields.


"Congratulations to all of this year's participants and winners. We need more of the skills that you have demonstrated to address Canada's skills gap. Our government is proud to support the Skills Canada National Competition, which is an exceptional showcase for talented young competitors and will inspire other young people to explore careers in the skilled trades and technology sectors."
–The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development

"Every year, Skills/Compétences Canada programs and competitions across the country reach more than 300,000 young people and consequently have a major positive impact on their career choices and lives. We are very grateful to be able to impact Canada's future workforce with the assistance of many partners, including the ongoing support of Employment and Social Development Canada. We are particularly thrilled that Minister Kenney is able to personally show his support for Canada's youth by attending the 20th Skills Canada National Competition."
–Shaun Thorson, CEO, Skills/Compétences Canada

Associated Links


Economic Action Plan 2014 – Support for apprentices

To help registered apprentices with the cost of their training and encourage more Canadians to consider a career in the skilled trades, the Canada Apprentice Loan will offer interest-free loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training and will defer interest charges and loan repayment until the recipients complete or cancel their study program. It is estimated that at least 26,000 apprentices per year will apply for over $100 million in loans.

The Government of Canada is also introducing the new Flexibility and Innovation in Apprenticeship Technical Training pilot project to explore ways to help apprentices continue working and earning while fulfilling the technical training requirements of their study program. This project could potentially support up to 12 multi-year projects through reallocations of $13 million over four years starting in 2014–2015.

The Government will ensure increased awareness of existing financial supports available through Employment Insurance (EI) so apprentices can start to receive benefits more quickly while on technical training. Through EI's Supplemental Unemployment Benefit plan, employers can also invest more in apprenticeship training by choosing to top up an apprentice's benefits by up to 95 percent of his or her normal wage.

The Government of Canada provided $4.3 million and the governments of the Atlantic provinces provided over $3.5 million to harmonize training, certification and standards, leading to increased availability of training, higher apprenticeship completion rates and more labour mobility for apprentices across Atlantic Canada.

The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant and Apprenticeship Completion Grant are taxable cash grants that encourage Canadians to pursue and complete apprenticeship training in designated Red Seal trades. As a result of these grants, apprentices could be eligible to receive up to $4,000, which can be used to pay for tuition, tools or other expenses.

The Government of Canada also offers a tax credit to employers to encourage them to hire apprentices and a tax deduction for apprentices and tradespeople to help cover the cost of new tools.

Apprentice Procurement Initiative

Through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government of Canada introduced measures to support apprentices and the skilled trades. These include encouraging the use of apprentices in federal construction and maintenance contracts and infrastructure projects, federal funding commitments under the Investment in Affordable Housing initiative, working with the provinces and territories to harmonize apprenticeship training and certification and examining the use of practical tests as a method of assessment in certain skilled trades.

As a first step, contractors bidding on federal projects will be expected to attest that they are providing opportunities to apprentices. This will also include gathering information to further understand the landscape. The information will later determine an ongoing approach to support the use of apprentices in federal project that helps Canadian workers, but is also fair to business.

Canada Job Grant

The Canada Job Grant will help Canadians get the training they need for available jobs and put skills training decisions in the hands of employers. It will provide up to $15,000 per person for training costs, such as tuition and training materials, which includes up to $10,000 in federal contributions.

The provinces and territories will have full flexibility on the source of funds for the Canada Job Grant. They may be sourced from provincial/territorial allocations under the Canada Job Fund, the Labour Market Development Agreements or provincial/territorial sources.

The Canada Job Grant will be for short-duration training provided by an eligible third-party trainer, such as community colleges, career colleges, trade union centres and private trainers. Training can be provided in a classroom, on site at a workplace or online.

All private and not-for-profit businesses with a plan to train Canadians for a new or better job will be eligible to apply for a Canada Job Grant, once implemented.

The Canada Job Grant will be flexible enough to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, in all industries and regions. Small businesses will benefit from flexible arrangements, such as the potential to count wages as part of the employer contribution. This will help ensure that all businesses, regardless of size, can fully participate in the Canada Job Grant.

The Canada Job Grant will ensure that employers participate meaningfully as partners in the skills training system, sharing in the associated costs. This will ensure that training is better aligned with job opportunities, particularly in sectors facing skills mismatches and labour shortages.

The Canada Job Grant is strongly supported by employers and other stakeholders including:

  • The Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO;
  • National Association of Career Colleges;
  • Canadian Federation of Independent Business;
  • Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters;
  • Canadian Construction Association;
  • Information Technology Association of Canada;
  • Canadian Welding Bureau;
  • Engineers Canada;
  • Progressive Contractors Association;
  • Christian Labour Association of Canada;
  • Canadian Home Builders' Association;
  • Canadian Shipowners Association;
  • Canadian Electricity Association;
  • Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating;
  • Merit Canada;
  • Polytechnics Canada;
  • Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada;
  • Chemistry Industry Association of Canada; and
  • Aerospace Industry Association of Canada.


SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: Alexandra Fortier, Office of the Minister, 819-994-2482; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559,; Follow us on Twitter



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