FORT MCMURRAY, AB, Jan. 9, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Tim Uppal, Minister of State (Multiculturalism), on behalf of the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, today announced the launch of the new Canada Apprentice Loan, an important initiative that provides apprentices registered in a Red Seal trade program with access to loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training. The loans are interest-free until after loan recipients complete or leave their apprenticeship training program, up to a maximum of six years.
In his address, Minister Uppal focused on the importance and value of the skilled trades for our Canadian economy and said that apprenticeship training is essential to keep Canada's economy strong. That is why, in addition to the Canada Apprentice Loan, the Government also supports apprentices through several other initiatives, including grants and tax Credits. Since 2006, the Government of Canada has also provided apprenticeship grants and tax credits for both apprentices and employers to encourage apprenticeships and careers in the skilled trades. To date, the Government has issued over 500,000 apprenticeship grants to Canadians worth nearly $700 million to help them get the skills and training they need to get well-paying jobs.
Minister Uppal underlined the pressing demand for skilled tradesmen and women, particularly in areas such as infrastructure projects like the Government's New Building Canada Plan, which commits $53 billion in funding, including nearly $942 million to projects in Alberta under the New Building Canada Fund. He also spoke of the many projects happening in the Fort McMurray area like the Fort McMurray West Transmission Project for new electrical transmission lines, affordable housing projects slated to start later this year, construction projects at the airport and the on-going downtown revitalization.
- It is estimated that at least 26,000 apprentices a year will apply for over $100 million in Canada Apprentice Loans.
- Red Seal trades include 57 skilled trades including bakers, bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, gasfitters, heavy equipment operators, ironworkers, machinists, painters, plumbers, sheet metal workers, and truck mechanics, to name a few.
- According to Statistics Canada, almost 360,000 people are enrolled in over 400 apprenticeship and skilled trades programs. But, only half of apprentices are completing their programs.
- There are approximately 2.9 million skilled trade workers in Canada which represent 17 percent of the workforce.
"Our government's top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity. That is why we are taking action to further help apprentices complete their training for good jobs that help keep Canada's economy strong. In addition to grants and tax credits, the Canada Apprentice Loan provides apprentices in Red Seal trades with access to interest-free loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training."
- The Honourable Tim Uppal, Minister of State (Multiculturalism)
"Our Government's top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity. Jobs in the skilled trades are in-demand in different sectors and regions across the country. We are taking action to address these skills shortages by providing even more support for apprentices. This includes the introduction of the Canada Apprentice Loan, which will help more apprentices complete their training and encourage more Canadians to pursue a career in the skilled trades."
- The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development
"The Canada Apprentice Loan program will provide important financial support for students in the trades. The students who enroll in apprentice and trades programs today at Keyano College, and at other post-secondary institutions, will be important contributors to the growth of communities throughout our respective region for years to come. The Federal Government's investment in this program demonstrates the importance of collaboration, which is key to both the future and sustainability of post-secondary education in Canada."
- Dr. Kevin F. Nagel, President and CEO, Keyano College
Since 2006, our Government has recognized the importance of apprentices to Canada's economy and to this end has made significant investments to help apprentices and the employers that hire them.
Economic Action Plan 2014
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.
A second new Economic Action Plan 2014 initiative, the Flexibility and Innovation in Apprenticeship Technical Training pilot project, will help reduce non-financial barriers to completing training and obtaining certification by using new learning tools such as in-class simulators, e-learning modules, remote learning sites and video conferencing. This will 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 2014-15.
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 per cent of his or her normal wage.
Support for apprentices
The Government of Canada has provided $4.3 million and the governments of the Atlantic provinces 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. In turn, these actions mean more jobs and opportunities for workers in the skilled trades and a step forward in addressing the skills shortage faced in certain regions and sectors in 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. Since 2007, the Government has issued over 500,000 apprenticeship grants.
The Government of Canada also offers a tax credit to employers to encourage them to hire apprentices and a tax deduction for apprentices and tradesmen to help cover the cost of new tools.
Promoting careers in the skilled trades
Also through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government proposed to provide 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.
The Government of Canada also provides a range of support—including Canada Student Loans, Canada Student Grants, the Canada Learning Bond and the Canada Education Savings Grant—to help young Canadians pursue and save for their post-secondary education, so that they can acquire the skills and training they need to succeed in the job market and in the future economy.
SOURCE Canada's Economic Action Plan
For further information: Alexandra Fortier, Office of Minister Kenney, 819-994-2482; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, [email protected]