The Ontario government has gradually reopened all 24 provincial centres for apprenticeship and trade-related certifications, based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and provincial health authorities. Apprentices and skilled tradespeople can now book their final exams at their local apprenticeship office. Exam centres were closed for regular in-person exams in March due to COVID-19. All exam centres and partner sites have put safety measures in place such as mandating the wearing of masks, spacing exam desks at least two metres apart and limiting the number of examinees at exam sittings. "Our government's top priority remains the safety of all workers, including our skilled trade workers. We are committed to supporting their journey to lifelong success, and it is critical that they finish their apprenticeships, become journeypersons and reap the rewards for their hard work so far," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. "I'm proud that we could reopen these exam centres, in a safe and reliable way while helping Ontario's economic recovery and future prosperity." Apprentices and journeyperson applicants normally have a 12-month deadline to pass the trade exam in order to maintain their status. A six-month extension was provided on March 18, 2020 due to COVID-19. The ministry is drawing on its partnerships with external training delivery agents, such as unions and colleges, to help alleviate the accumulated backlog by providing space to host exams. Since exam sittings gradually resumed, starting on August 10, there have been five sessions scheduled at partner sites, while more than 600 exams have been written at ministry exam centres.
To support skilled tradespeople and apprentices through the COVID-19 situation, Ontario enabled an extension of authorization to work for over 1,000 people working in the skilled trades
Between 2017 and 2019, there were approximately 1,700 final apprenticeship exams written per month across all ministry exam centres.
As of August 28, the ministry has contacted 83% of clients who were waiting to write an exam