B.C. Introducing New Legislation to Support and Train Apprentices
By Logan CaswellHPAC General Human Resources Management British Columbia skilled trades SkilledTradesBC
The new Skilled Trades BC Act lays the foundation to address labour shortages and support skilled tradespeople.
British Columbia has announced new legislation to establish a made in B.C. system to support and train apprentices.
The new Skilled Trades B.C. Act lays the foundation to address labour shortages, and support and recognize the critical work that skilled tradespeople do in British Columbia.
In 2003, compulsory skilled trades certification was eliminated, making B.C. the only province without this requirement.
Skilled trades certification will require people to register as an apprentice or be a certified journey-person to work in one of the 10 selected mechanical, electrical and automotive trades. The four mechanical trades include: refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic, gasfitter A & B, steamfitter/pipefitter, and sheet metal worker.
Certification for these initial trades will be implemented in phases between 2022 and 2024, pending the passage of legislation.
The new legislation will replace the Industry Training Authority Act and transform the Industry Training Authority into SkilledTradesBC, the modernized Crown agency responsible for skilled trades training in British Columbia. The renewed focus of SkilledTradesBC reflects the expanded responsibilities associated with skilled trades certification, and a new focus on promoting and supporting apprentices and trainees throughout their training journey.
SkilledTradesBC is expected to remain the authority on trades training in B.C. with enhanced and streamlined services to help apprentices navigate training and get access to support.
A public engagement process, which ran from June to September 2021, provided an opportunity for workers, apprentices, training providers, Indigenous partners, communities and employers in urban and rural communities in B.C. to shape key aspects of the transition to skilled trades certification. This included how to support experienced uncertified workers to remain in the labour market while they earn certification or enter training and ensures employers are supported during the economic recovery. The engagement also addressed how to apply new certification requirements fairly across all industry sectors, as well as how to support Indigenous workers, workers with English as an additional language, and workers and employers in smaller communities.