THUNDER BAY – City Council in Thunder Bay was told Monday night that there is a looming shortage of skilled workers for positions in the growing mining sector in our region. Today, the Progressive Conservatives are warning voters this problem could get worse if the Liberals are re-elected. “Ontario families just cannot afford four more years of Dalton McGuinty keeping jobs from the men and women who want them, and keeping skilled tradespeople out of the communities who need them,” stated Tim Hudak, leader of the PC Party
At Algonquin College today, Hudak was joined by other candidates. “Dalton McGuinty is currently putting union special interests ahead of Ontario workers by blocking the creation of 200,000 badly needed skilled worker jobs,” charges Hudak. “Dalton McGuinty continues to stand by an outdated apprenticeship system in which businesses are required to employ three, four, or five unionized journeymen to train a single apprentice – a more restrictive ratio than most other provinces in Canada. Dalton McGuinty now plans to turn complete control over apprenticeship ratios over to the union-run College of Trades, thereby letting special interests and union bosses control who is allowed to work as a tradesman in Ontario”.
Hudak stated, “An Ontario PC Government will stand up to union special interests and open up 200,000 new jobs for apprentices who want to build their career in the skilled trades and raise their family right here in Ontario. We can create new jobs in Ontario, but first we need to create change.” The PCs claim that “Ontario produces 46 per cent fewer tradespeople (per capita) than the rest of Canada. According to the Ontario Ministry of Finance, Ontario will face a shortage of one million skilled workers by 2021”.
A spokesperson for the Liberal Party responding to the PC statements said, “We have doubled the number of apprenticeships since 2003 resulting in 60,000 more apprentices for a total of 120,000. The Harris-Hudak PCs cut funding to apprenticeship and training programs by 73 per cent from 1995-98, creating a shortage of skilled workers. We are going to help manage in-school training costs and we’ll also make it easier for tradespeople to move into other trades, which is especially important as we build our new clean-energy economy. Skilled tradespeople strengthen Ontario by building roads, bridges, businesses and homes – the backbone of our economy. If we want Ontario to keep creating jobs, our job is to keep supporting apprentices, encouraging young people to take up good, solid jobs in the skilled trades”.