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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Helping Underprivileged Youth Start Promising Jobs in Construction

May 17, 2021

ETOBICOKE— The Ontario government is investing almost $2 million in a project that will offer 150 underprivileged youth paid training and work experience for in-demand construction jobs in Ottawa, Hamilton and the Greater Toronto Area. This paid 10-week pre-apprenticeship program, led by Brook Restoration Ltd, is offered to youth in disadvantaged communities, ages 18 to 29, including those experiencing homelessness and living in community housing. Details were provided today by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, joined by Kinga Surma, MPP for Etobicoke Center. “We know that youth, especially those in marginalized communities, have really felt the brunt of this pandemic, with the youth unemployment rate above 20 per cent in April,” said Minister McNaughton. “This project is a great example of local businesses stepping up with a solution tailored to help those who need it most, so we can give the next generation the skills they need to support their families and make our communities stronger.” The project includes two weeks of in-house classroom learning at the company’s head office in Etobicoke, as well as eight weeks of on-the-job training with Brook Restoration Ltd. and several local businesses in Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa. Participants will be paid up to $3,000 during the training and those who successfully complete the program will be offered jobs by Brook Restoration Ltd. Through this project, participants will be prepared to begin their career in the construction workforce by learning about general building techniques, how to work with power tools, the use of different products in construction and an introduction to the overall building envelope restoration and construction. “Brook Restoration is excited to be offering Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and Ottawa's youth this paid pre-apprenticeship program that will provide insightful training and work experience in construction,” said Edward Welch, CEO, Brook Restoration Ltd. “Each participant is eligible for a job offer at the end of the program. This program's high-level objective is to provide marginalized youth with access to the tools and knowledge that will equip them with the skills to pursue a sustainable career in the construction industry.” The first round of training will begin on May 24, 2021 and last until July 16, 2021, with two additional cohorts expected to train September 13, 2021 to November 5, 2021 and January 17, 2022 to March 11, 2022. Interested youth can get more information and apply by contacting Brook Restoration Ltd. at The funding comes as part of the government’s $115 million Skills Development Fund through the 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy.

Quick Facts

  • Youth have faced elevated unemployment rates during COVID-19; the April 2021 unemployment rate for Ontario youth aged 15 to 24 was 20.4 per cent.

  • Data suggests that the need to replace retiring workers is greater for skilled trades workers than for other occupations. In 2016, nearly 1 in 3 journeypersons were aged 55 years or older.

  • As part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario continues to support workers hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic by investing an additional $614.3 million during 2020–21 and 2021–22 to provide targeted employment and training supports.

  • On May 6, 2021, the government introduced the Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act to make the province’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system more efficient, accessible and easier to navigate. If passed, this legislation will help tradespeople get their certification from one reliable, streamlined destination through a new Crown agency, Skilled Trades Ontario, that would replace the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT).

Quotes "This program is great news for young people in Etobicoke and our community’s greater workforce. Getting paid to learn new skills, knowing there’s a job at the end, is such a fantastic opportunity and I am proud this innovative project was homegrown in Etobicoke." - Kinga Surma MPP, Etobicoke Center "Brook Restoration is a strong local business and even better community partner here in North Etobicoke. This paid pre-apprenticeship program will not only introduce underprivileged youth in marginalized communities to fulfilling careers, but will also help them develop the necessary skills for a bright future in the skilled trades and beyond. I want to thank Premier Ford, Minister McNaughton and the Provincial government for committing the $2 million in funding, through the Skills Development Fund, that will go towards this important initiative." - Michael Ford Councillor for Ward 1, Etobicoke North

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