Building It Green


The Canadian construction sector is facing significant challenges in the coming years regarding its commitments to climate change due to a gap in ability, capacity and adaptability of the industry to respond to the emerging – and pressing – needs of climate change. The construction sector needs a skills development strategy that ensures its workforce can successfully deliver low-carbon infrastructure projects.


Through a funding from UTIP*, Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) is leading the “Building It Green” project. The project objective is to collect and analyze the industry’s best practices at a global level that will improve skilled trades workers’ education and understanding of their role in constructing and maintaining net-zero projects and to help Canada meet its climate goals.

*The Government of Canada’s Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) supports a commitment to strengthen union-based apprenticeship training, innovation and enhanced partnerships. The UTIP’s objective is to improve the quality of training in the trades to better support a skilled, inclusive, certified and productive trades workforce. It also aims to address barriers that prevent key groups, such as women, low skilled and Indigenous people, from succeeding in the trades.


Commencing in March 2021 under a four-and one half year project lifespan, CBTU and its partners:  SkillPlan, The Climate and Industry Research Team (CIRT) and The Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) began work to launch the project. Working in five regions across Canada, this project will bring together a broad network of stakeholders (including climate experts and labour, education and training institutions) to research, review, enhance and evaluate the industry’s knowledge and skills on climate literacy


Project Partners


The team is composed of a small group of academic researchers with expertise in climate science, labour relations, apprenticeship, trades training and a variety of low carbon construction issues. The team members have a lengthy track record in researching the issues the project will be addressing, as well as bringing to the project an extensive network of academic, government, employer and labour contacts on which to build the research program.  The team includes academics from Europe, the United States, English Canada and Quebec which will enable it to draw upon the experience of both national and international efforts to promote climate literacy. In addition, two team members have skilled trades qualifications and an extensive background in apprenticeship and trades training, one of whom also has extensive ‘hands on’ experience in the construction industry.


SkillPlan was formed in 1991 to address skills challenges in the construction industry. SkillPlan has been considered one of the leaders in Canada for pinpointing foundational skills’ problems and designing curriculum and training programs to address these challenges. SkillPlan serves 14 international building trades and their affiliated contractors and works with over 1,500 apprentices yearly to ensure they succeed in their Red Seal programs. SkillPlan has direct connection with the construction industry, as well as an established network and services in the Essential Skills community, with public and private post-secondary and Indigenous Groups across Canada. SkillPlan’s team has worked with tens of thousands of apprentices over the years with many of these apprentices being from under-represented groups.


SRDC has been involved in over 25 projects touching upon every aspect of the design, delivery and evaluation of literacy and essential skills programs and adult learning initiatives more broadly. These have included large-scale pan-Canadian demonstration projects with designs of similar scale and scope such as the groundbreaking UPSKILL study. SRDC’s experience includes sector-specific projects (e.g. tourism, retail, manufacturing), skill-specific projects (e.g. occupational safety, financial literacy and digital skills), evaluations of skills testing and training programs, consultations with and surveys of literacy and essential skills workers, and the development of analytical frameworks (e.g. returns to adult learning). These projects have provided the opportunity to work with a number of organizations at the frontiers of the workforce development landscape, from program design and delivery specialists to industry sector councils to local, regional and national literacy advocacy organizations. SRDC’s relationships with these training and development community leaders provide it with a depth of knowledge on the resources available to the community and those required to further develop the community.


We believe the project will become a key driver in supporting the movement to ‘green’ Canada’s construction sector and achieve Canada’s climate objectives.


We want to hear from you! Be a champion in making Canada a greener place!

For more information on how to participate in various stages of the project as outlined above, please email us at

Building Connections