Made in the Trades: Guide for Employers - The Career Foundation

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Thinking of Hiring an Apprentice? Get Started Here

Many skilled trades employers consider apprenticeship a “must-have” when it comes to meeting their workplace requirements. 

As they develop their skills, apprentices become the core workforce of tomorrow. They are trained by experienced supervisors and are therefore better positioned to be future leaders and managers. Learn more about hiring apprentices, the training incentives, and how to register an apprentice, below.

Hiring an Apprentice

  • Apprentices are generally more committed to training and safe work practices.
  • They are more likely to become loyal employees who are committed to the organization, improving overall retention.
  • Training incentive funds and an apprenticeship signing bonus may be available to help offset the cost of training new employees.

When possible, employers may also have the opportunity to hire graduates from a pre-apprenticeship program. Here are some of the reasons you should hire apprentices:

  • Tapping into a large pool of eligible and trained candidates.
  • Accessing graduates equipped with Level 1 apprenticeship training, safety equipment, pre-employment training, and First Aid/CPR training.
  • Receiving potential training incentive funds and an apprenticeship signing bonus, based on eligibility and availability, to help offset the cost of training new employees.
  • Accessing job matching services and job fairs, all at no cost to you. 
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Finding an Apprentice

There are many ways to find new employees. Some examples include:

  • Trade associations or unions
  • Trade fairs
  • Job search websites
  • Social media
  • Local schools or Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Programs
  • Pre-apprenticeship programs
  • Word of mouth
  • The Career Foundation!

How The Career Foundation Can Help You

We know there is increasing employment opportunities for job seekers in the trades sector. We have been working for years to help prepare our unemployed clients for trades jobs where they can enjoy long, fulfilling careers.

We can connect you with job ready candidates today. We can also offer our job seekers and employers information and support with the apprenticeship process. 

Financial Incentives

Apprenticeship Achievement Incentive (AI) Program

The Apprenticeship Achievement Incentive (AI) Program supports employers by providing financial incentives when apprentices meet specific training and certification milestones.

The AI Program offers up to $17,000 for each new or existing apprentice employed by an eligible sponsor! Enhanced payments are available to employers who sponsor new youth apprentices (24 or younger), and those from self-identified underrepresented groups. New sponsors will also receive retroactive milestone payments for the 365 days preceding their application.

In order to qualify for the AI Program, employers must:

  • Be an approved ministry sponsor for apprenticeship.
  • Be a corporation or unincorporated business that is subject to Ontario income taxes.
  • Have a federal or provincial business number.
  • Have an address or permanent work site in Ontario.
  • Have a registered training agreement (RTA) with one or more trades regulated under the Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act (BOSTA).

Prior to being issued payment, eligible sponsors will receive an email from the ministry informing them of achieving an AI Program milestone.

Milestone Payments

There are six AI milestones for which eligible sponsors will receive payment. The mandatory minimum registration period for each milestone is noted in brackets next to the milestone.

The mandatory minimum registration period determines how long an apprentice must be registered in order for the employer sponsor to receive payment for that milestone.

Registration Payment (45 days):
    • Incentive Base: N/A
    • Youth: +$1,000
    • Underrepresented or Equity-Deserving: +$1,000
Level 1 In-Class Training (12 months):
    • Incentive Base: $1,000
    • Youth: +$1,000
    • Underrepresented or Equity-Deserving: +$1,000
Level 2 In-Class Training (18 months):
    • Incentive Base: $1,000
    • Youth: +$1,000
    • Underrepresented or Equity-Deserving: +$1,000
Level 3 In-Class Training (24 months):
    • Incentive Base: $1,000
    • Youth: +$1,000
    • Underrepresented or Equity-Deserving: +$1,000
Level 4 In-Class Training (30 months):
    • Incentive Base: $1,000
    • Youth: +$1,000
    • Underrepresented or Equity-Deserving: +$1,000
Highest Attainable Trade Certification (N/A):
    • Incentive Base: $1,000
    • Youth: +$1,000
    • Underrepresented or Equity-Deserving: +$1,000

Additional Incentives

The Government of Ontario continues to update its website with financial incentives for employers in the skilled trades. Currently, they list the following financial supports for employers:

  • Achievement Incentive: A grant program that helps employers train apprentices by reducing the cost of training. Employers are given grant payments when their apprentices reach certain milestones during their training. Employers can tap into up to $4,000 in grants through this incentive program. Find out more on the Government of Ontario website.
  • Group Sponsorship Grant: This grant encourages employers to come together using a group sponsorship arrangement to hire and train apprentices. The program provides grants over a maximum of three years. Through this arrangement, employers share apprenticeship management and training responsibilities to help streamline apprenticeship administration, improve quality of training, and increase opportunities for apprentices to train in all aspects of the trade. Find out more on the Government of Ontario website.

In addition to provincial funding, employers may be eligible for financial support from the federal government including:

  • Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit: Eligible employers can get a tax credit equal to 10% of the apprentice’s salary, up to a maximum of $2,000 per year per apprentice for the first two years of the apprenticeship. This is only applicable to apprentices in Red Seal trades.
  • Federal wage subsidies and other assistance programs: The Government of Canada offers a list of wage subsidies and other assistance programs to help you hire the right employee for your business.

How to Register an Apprentice

Step 1

Apprentice candidates that are 18 and over submit the Application for Apprenticeship online through the Skilled Trades Ontario Portal or print and complete it by hand and submit it to their local Employment Ontario apprenticeship office. Apprentice candidates between 16 and 17 years old will print and complete the application with a signature from a parent or guardian as well as the sponsor, then submit it to their local Employment Ontario apprenticeship office for approval.

The completed application will include your information as the sponsor. In some instances, you may complete the application on behalf of the apprentice.

If you haven’t been approved as a sponsor already, someone from your local Employment Ontario apprenticeship office will contact you to confirm if you qualify as a sponsor.

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Step 2

Once the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) has approved you and the apprentice candidate, you will get more information about your roles and responsibilities from a local apprenticeship office within five business days.

You and the apprentice candidate will then sign a training agreement confirming the terms of the apprenticeship, and the MLITSD will also register your signed training agreement.

Step 3

As the employer/sponsor, you are responsible for training an apprentice on the skills set out in the Apprenticeship Training Standard Log Book. Review the log book regularly with the apprentice, and sign off on the skills as the apprentice acquires them.

If there are any changes to your business information or the Registered Training Agreement, make sure to inform the MLITSD.

Step 4

When an apprentice completes their on-the-job and classroom training, they will get a Certificate of Apprenticeship. Completed apprentices who pass the trade exam (if applicable) will get a Certificate of Qualification.

To obtain the Certificate of Apprenticeship, the employer/sponsor and the apprentice must confirm to the MLITSD that the apprentice has completed training. This could be in the form of a letter, an Apprenticeship Completion Form, or signing off on the apprenticeship training standard log book.

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This Employment Ontario service is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.