McGuinty Hands Pink Slips to Youth Across Ontario

    Students forced out of pre-apprenticeship jobs at graduation by unfair
    provincial rules

    TORONTO, June 26 /CNW/ - Potentially thousands of young Ontario
pre-apprenticeship program graduates could be forced out of work as summer
begins because of unfair and misguided provincial rules. The apprenticeship
jobs are being lost even though contractors have numerous unfilled vacancies
amid a fast-growing shortage of skilled construction trade workers in Ontario.
    A campaign launched today, Support Ontario Youth, seeks to draw public
attention to the unnecessary job losses, and to advance a simple and cost-free
provincial government remedy: reduce the ratio of certified electrical trades
persons required for each apprentice from 3:1 to 1:1. The facts are presented
on a new website,, that went live today.
    The situation is most pressing in the electrical trades, where numerous
jobs across the province go unfilled. Other skilled construction trades face
similar challenges. In a requirement almost unique to Ontario, contractors
must have three certified electricians for every apprentice. By comparison,
almost every other province and territory requires just one certified journey
person per apprentice.
    Ontario's ratio imposes tight limits on the number of apprentices
electrical contractors can hire in the province, which means fewer
opportunities for those wanting to work.
    The impact hits hardest right now, at the end of the high school year,
when numerous Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) graduates face the
loss of pre-apprenticeship jobs. Prior to graduation, they are allowed to work
in apprenticeship roles because OYAP job positions are not subject to rules
governing apprenticeship ratios.
    "It's disheartening to see the door closed on young people when there are
so many job openings available to them," said Richard Cullis, President, Dial
One Wolfedale Electric of Mississauga, Ont., and a Director of the Ontario
Electrical League (OEL), a non-profit electrical industry association that is
spearheading the Support Ontario Youth campaign. "Instead of pink slips,
Premier McGuinty should offer apprenticeship candidates new rules that will
let them work."
    The Ontario government actively encourages young people to enter skilled
trades and has significantly increased funding for training programs, even as
it obstructs employment opportunities through unfair apprenticeship ratios.
The same policy also harms thousands of small businesses that provide
electrical contracting services because they are barred from hiring the
skilled employees they need to replace retiring workers or meet growing
    "Electrical contractors could hire hundreds if not thousands of
apprentices right now if given the chance," said OEL President Mary
Ingram-Haigh. "The Ontario government can solve this problem instantly with a
simple solution that is cost-free to taxpayers."

    About Support Ontario Youth

    Support Ontario Youth seeks to remove roadblocks to employment for young
people seeking a career in the skilled trades, through the establishment of
fair apprenticeship ratios in Ontario. A program of the Ontario Electrical
League, it also seeks to address the fast-growing skilled labour shortage that
leaves many electrical contractors unable to fill job vacancies. For more
information, visit the Support Ontario Youth website at

For further information:

For further information: Mary Ingram-Haigh, President, Ontario
Electrical League,, (905) 238-1382; Don Hogarth
(media inquiries),, (416) 565-8920

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