In order to accomplish Canada’s short and long-term infrastructure goals, it is necessary to have a well-trained and qualified workforce. Representing over 600,000 skilled trades workers, CBTU has identified areas for improvement and additional opportunities for the Federal Government to support workers.
A healthy and viable union construction apprenticeship training system is a proven avenue to restore the Canadian middle class and bring security back to the workplace. The Union Training and Innovation Program has provided considerable support to improve and expand training and support for skilled trades workers. This program has helped us to support the next generation of apprentices and tradespeople to gain the skills they need to succeed in Canada’s changing economy.
UTIP should consider the following changes to further improve the program:
- Extend funding to bricks and mortar projects that would see the expansion of training centres through extensions or new builds to increase capacity.
- Alter the UTIP funding structure to accommodate a lower investment requirement from the Training Centres; often the 50/50 split is restrictive to training centres that are financially limited.
- Take into consideration the fluctuation in pricing of equipment and machinery based in US dollars, as prices may fluctuate from the time a proposal was submitted to the time it is approved.
- Standardize the UTIP reporting system/form to simplify the process, including allowing longer application time to address the needs of smaller training centres with limited capacity. Additionally, allow entities that have successfully received UTIP funding in the past to reapply through a scaled down application process.
Reform Employment Insurance
Reform of the Employment Insurance (EI) program is long overdue. CBTU recommends the Government undergo significant and genuine consultations on the EI program to better support workers.
CBTU is advocating for the following changes:
- Permanently simplify eligibility rules around the allocation of separation monies.
- Support workers seeking re-skilling or skill upgrading by ensuring they can promptly receive EI benefits while attending skills training or an educational program.
- Address delays in receiving EI benefits to support apprentices completing the in-class portion of their training and certification exams.
- Make improvements to the Canada Training Benefits Training Credit by removing the upper-age limit, lower the earnings eligibility, and allow the credit to be applied to related expenses such as course materials
- Extend the EI Training Support Benefit from four to 16 weeks, increase the replacement rate to 85 per cent of wages, and remove the one-week waiting period.
- End the misclassification of workers.
- Dedicate an EI representative at each of Canada’s four administration regions who understand the specific issues pertaining to skilled trades workers and the EI system in Canada.
- Re-establish a board of appeals for EI.