The province has officially launched a new agency designed to help skilled tradespeople more easily navigate the training and certification process in Ontario.
Skilled Trades Ontario — which was first announced last May — replaces the Ontario College of Trades. It will be responsible for developing training and curriculum standards, promoting the skilled trades to prospective workers, and simplifying the user experience.
The province believes the new system will help draw more people to the trades, alleviating a shortage of skilled trades workers in Ontario, which is expected to reach 350,000 people by 2025.
According to the province, apprentices can schedule classes and exams, submit forms, pay fees and more through the online portal.
This is an improvement from the previous system, the province said, which was “confusing and prevented many apprentices from pursuing their interests.”
The agency will be directed by an independent board of directors chaired by Michael Sherrard, a Toronto-based lawyer with experience in labour and employee relations.
Skilled Trades Ontario is part of the province's Skilled Trades Strategy, a multi-pronged plan to draw more people to careers in the skilled trades.