B.C. rolls out skilled trades certification

New legislation applies to 10 trades in mechanical, electrical and automotive sectors

B.C. rolls out skilled trades certification

Having announced last summer that it was introducing new skilled trades certification, British Columbia says the rules will be implemented in phases between 2022 and 2024.

The new legislation — the Skilled Trades BC Act which received royal assent on March 10, 2022 — will apply to 10 trades in the mechanical, electrical and automotive sectors.

People working in those trades will have to be a certified journeyperson or registered apprentice. They will have at least one year to register as an apprentice or challenge an exam to certify as a journeyperson, which gives uncertified workers time to access any additional supports they may need while continuing to work, says the government.

In addition, 25 apprenticeship advisors will help workers register to certify and help people with accessing support provided by the government, such as financial assistance for child care, lost wages, travel and living expenses.

The province is also providing $5 million to the Industry Training Authority (ITA) to address waiting lists for priority trades programs so that more tradespeople can access training or upgrading and refresher courses to complete apprenticeship training and certification.

“I am extremely excited that the ITA will be adding more apprenticeship advisors to our already amazing team. Working with people and helping them achieve their career goals by building our beautiful province through trades is something that I value, and I couldn’t feel more honoured to be able to help and assist British Columbians on their trade pathway,” said Tawni Wilkins.

Recently, B.C. launched a COVID-19 safety certificate program for workers in the tourism and hospitality sectors with hopes it will increase consumer confidence as businesses start to return to more normal operations.

The new skilled trades legislation replaces the Industry Training Authority Act and transforms the Industry Training Authority into SkilledTradesBC. The modernized Crown agency is responsible for skilled trades training in B.C.

“The new Skilled Trades BC Act lays the foundation to address skilled labour shortages, and support the #skilledtrades in B.C.” tweeted Andrew Mercier, an MLA in B.C.

The skilled trades certification trades are:

    • mechanical: gasfitter Class A and B, steamfitter/pipefitter, refrigeration and air-conditioning mechanic, and sheet metal worker
    • electrical: powerline technician, industrial electrician and electrician (construction)
    • automotive: heavy-duty equipment technician, automotive service technician and autobody and collision technician.

In December, Ontario announced it is investing $1.5 billion over four years to focus on ending the stigma around the trades, simplifying the apprenticeship system, and getting employers to hire more apprentices.

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