The Ontario government will provide CA$37 million in funding to increase job training, with CA$450,000 dedicated to the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council to support women in the trades and health and safety training.
"We're very pleased to have the support of the Ontario government," said First District International Vice President Tom Reid. "The IBEW has been a leader on these issues and we look forward to continuing our work within the building trades to bring in more women to these well-paying and fulfilling careers."
The announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford on Sept. 3 at the training center for Hamilton, Ontario Local 105. Having the premier speak at an IBEW center is a good sign, says Local 105 Business Manager Steve Fox.
"To have the provincial government on the same page as the IBEW when it comes to supporting quality electrical careers is a tremendous success," Fox said. "It's a testament to all the good work the IBEW has done in building relationships that the government chose to make this announcement at our union hall."
The premier was joined by Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton; Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Jane McKenna; and members of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario.
"The IBEW [Construction Council of Ontario] is very proud of our female apprentices and journeypersons who provided training demonstrations to Premier Ford and Minister McNaughton during their visit," said James Barry, executive secretary treasurer of the CCO, to the Daily Commercial News. "We appreciate that the Ontario government has announced investments in training, reinforcing the importance that only highly trained and certified professionals should be undertaking dangerous work such as electrical work."
Patrick Dillon, business manager for the Building Trades Council, noted the changes to safety protocols the trades have had to make this year because of the coronavirus.
"There has been a lot of cooperation with the government and the contractors' associations and the building trades to collectively work at cleaning that up. They've done a reasonably good job, but some contractors think that we should start relaxing the protocols moving back to pre-COVID," Dillon told Daily Commercial News. "It's just not going to happen. We've got some educational work to do around that."
Dillon, who is also a former business manager of Local 105, said there's also a need to address mental health issues during this stressful time.
"The more we get into this stuff, the more mental health challenges are being highlighted," Dillon said. "Funding will be directed towards those programs and initiatives."