April 9, 2012
Ontario government to review Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit
Apprentices are key to building a competitive economy in Ontario, but about 50 per cent never complete their training. Measures to raise this number were announced this afternoon in the 2012 Ontario budget.
The number of apprentices has nearly doubled to 120,000 during the Liberal government’s eight-year reign, though apprenticeship completion rates are at about half, reports the province.
The government says the strength of the apprenticeship system needs to be measured by both the proportion of apprentices who complete their program and get certified and by the growth in the numbers of new registrants.
The province is facing a $15.3 billion deficit and hopes to balance its budget by 2017-18. “Ontario’s edge in the global economy is our highly skilled and educated workforce,” said Finance Minister Dwight Duncan in his budget speech at Queen’s Park this afternoon. The government is proposing five measures to increase the number of apprentices completing training and becoming certified.
One measure will look at Aboriginals, women and youth being targeted for pilot projects and strategies to address their entry barriers into the apprenticeship system.
Another measure includes introducing technical literacy and numeracy support to apprenticeship training and expanding examination preparation courses to help apprentices complete their training.
Connections will also be enhanced between apprenticeship and employment services to facilitate links between individuals and employers.
The government will redesign the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and Pre-Apprenticeship Program to make them more effective.
As a way to increase apprenticeship completion rates, the government will review the effectiveness and efficiency of the Ontario Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit.
The Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) will hold its first review of journeyman to apprentice ratios beginning this April. OCOT recently selected a 27-member adjudicator roster, three adjudicators will be chosen to form an objective panel for each review. OCOT Chair Ron Johnson has previously stated that he hopes the ratio reviews will be complete within the first two years of OCOT’s operation.
The report from the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services, released in February, recommended a greater administrative role for OCOT, but no mention was made in the budget.
The government is sustaining its commitment to Employment Ontario’s Second Career program which helps provide training to laid-off workers to find new employment. Its $251 million funding will be maintained in 2012-2013 to serve the 12,000 participants.
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