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Wilson to McGuinty: Fix Apprenticeship Ratios to Create Jobs

(March 25, 2008) P.C. Training, Colleges and Universities Critic Jim Wilson challenged Premier McGuinty today in Question Period to fix apprenticeship ratios in Ontario to create jobs.

Ontario requires up to as many as 3 qualified journeymen just to train one apprentice, unlike almost all other jurisdictions in North America that only require one journeyman to train one apprentice.

“On almost a daily basis, there are contractors who are forced to turn away apprentices – not because they don’t have work – but because we have an artificially high apprentice to journeymen ration that forces them to turn people away who want to work,” said Wilson.

The significance of the issue is huge.  According to Ontario’s Workforce Shortage Coalition the province will be short by 9,000 skilled trades’ people within three years.  To address their shortage, British Columbia allows a 1:4 ratio, meaning a qualified tradesperson could have four apprentices working and learning under him or her.

Wilson accused the Premier of being in the “pockets of the unions” who do not want the change and who say safety is the issue.  “What could be safer than one electrician supervising one electrical apprentice,” he asked.

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