Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that the Canada Apprentice Loan initiative is now open for business and accepting applications. The initiative will help those already apprenticing to complete their training and encourage more Canadians to pursue a career in the skilled trades, allowing participants to take advantage of the many job opportunities across Canada.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, The Honourable Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Minister of National Revenue, The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry, The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State for Seniors, Dan Albas, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, Nina Grewal, Member of Parliament for Fleetwood–Port Kells, John Weston, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, and Senator Yonah Martin.
The Canada Apprentice Loan, which was introduced in Economic Action Plan 2014, will provide apprentices in Red Seal trades across Canada with access to interest-free loans. These loans will help apprentices address the costs they encounter during technical training, including educational fees, tools and equipment, living expenses and forgone wages. It will be managed by the Canada Student Loans Program, within Employment and Social Development Canada.
Apprentices registered in a Red Seal trade apprenticeship will be able to apply for loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training. The loans are interest-free until after loan recipients complete or leave their apprenticeship training program, up to a maximum of six years.
Those interested in applying for the Canada Apprentice Loan can do so through the Canada Apprentice Loan Online Service which is available through Canada.ca/apprentice.
The Canada Apprentice Loan is one of many initiatives that the Government has undertaken to encourage apprenticeships and career training. Other significant efforts include apprenticeship grants, Employment Insurance benefits for apprentices taking technical training, tax credits and deductions for employers and apprentices.
- It is estimated that at least 26,000 apprentices a year will benefit from over $100 million in Canada Apprentice Loans.
- According to Statistics Canada, almost 360,000 people are enrolled every year in over 400 apprenticeship and skilled trades programs; however, only half of apprentices are completing their programs, (in part, because of the financial demands incurred during their technical training.)
- There are approximately 2.9 million skilled trade workers in Canada which represent 17 per cent of the workforce.
- Red Seal trades include 57 skilled trades, such as bakers, bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, gasfitters, heavy equipment operators, ironworkers, machinists, painters, plumbers, sheet metal workers, and truck mechanics, to name a few.
- The Conference Board of Canada predicts that Canada will need one million additional skilled workers by 2020.
- From March through June 2014, the Government of Canada held discussions on the Canada Apprentice Loan with key stakeholder groups including training providers, apprenticeship organizations and industry representatives as well as with provincial and territorial governments.