Ottawa puts $25 million into union-employer training centres

Three-year pilot project will match up to 50 per cent of the purchase cost of equipment

The federal government is investing $25 million in a three-year pilot project that will help union-employer training centres purchase up-to-date equipment and technology.

The program will focus on trades that have undergone significant expansion or technological change and will help training centres to meet industry standards and reflect the needs of the workplace, the government said. It will also help employers by creating a skilled workforce that is more productive.

Through the program, known as the training centre infrastructure fund (TCIF), Ottawa will match up to 50 per cent of the purchase cost of equipment. (For more information on eligibility and how to participate, see below.)

"Canada is stronger when its people fully contribute their skills and talents to the labour market and to our society," said Joe Volpe, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. "The pilot program will match funding for the purchase of new equipment used at union-employer training centres for skilled trades training."

The program is part of Canada's Workplace Skills Strategy, aimed at helping Canadians to become the best trained, most highly skilled workers in the world, as well as ensuring that employers' needs are met, the government said.

Background information on the program

The following information is taken verbatim from a “backgrounder” put out by the federal government on the program.

Program objective

To help selected union-employer training centres, focused on skilled trades, to replace existing or purchase new training equipment for trades that have undergone significant technological change, whose occupational scope has broadened or that have new curricula, which therefore require new equipment to address the skill change.

The strategic objective of the Training Centre Infrastructure Fund (TCIF) pilot program is to test whether federal funding can leverage increased investments by unions and employers to purchase up-to-date training equipment for union-employer training centres. The TCIF pilot program will be evaluated to assess its success, relevance and cost effectiveness. Union-employer consortia that receive TCIF funding must be willing to provide the necessary information so that the program can be evaluated.

Eligible applicants/recipients

To be eligible for the funding, applicants must be a consortium (group of partners), which includes trade unions (at the local, regional, provincial and/or national level) and their affiliated industry/employer stakeholders, that operates a union-employer training centre.

Eligible criteria

Consortia must have a union training centre where members and employees will receive training or have a means by which to deliver remote training.

Criteria include the following:

• evidence of a union-employer partnership that supports skills training;
• an established union training centre or mobile training unit;
• evidence that equipment sought will support trades that have undergone significant technological change, whose scope has broadened or that have new curricula;
• a rationale for how skills gained as a result of using the new equipment will enhance industry productivity or competitiveness;
• the potential to maximize the number of people who receive training;
• training focused on trade occupations, with priority given to Red Seal trades;
• financial viability of the consortium, which includes immediately available funds for the consortium's 50-percent contribution, and funding mechanisms to support related costs that are not eligible for federal funding; and
• a clear training plan that incorporates the ongoing use of the new equipment.


Financial contributions will be provided to eligible recipients to cover 50 percent of the cost of purchasing equipment for union-employer training centres.

Maximum contribution and duration

The maximum amount payable to each recipient is $500,000 per consortium for one year, which will cover up to 50 percent of eligible project costs.

The maximum agreement duration is one year.

How to apply

Interested union-employer stakeholders are invited to participate in the annual call-for-proposals process. This is a two-step process, whereby applicants will first submit a letter of intent, by April 30, 2005. The purpose of this letter is to ensure that applicants meet the basic eligibility requirements before completing the full application. Applications will be evaluated on the basis of the assessment criteria and successful applicants will be notified. TCIF program criteria and application instructions are available in the application package.

To request an application package, please contact the following:

Training Centre Infrastructure Fund Program
c/o Trades and Apprenticeship Division, Human Resources Partnerships, HRSDC
Phase IV - 5th floor, 140 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, QC K1A 0J9

You can send an e-mail to the following address: [email protected]

You can also visit Human Resources and Skills Development Canada's website at

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