The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF) is developing a new labour mobility tool that will help employers and apprentices ensure they have the proper documentation they need before moving from one jurisdiction to another.
The online tool will likely be launched in October says CAF's Executive Director Sarah Watts-Rynard.
"You need to make it easier for the people who think I might be open to moving, I might be open to hiring someone from another province," she says. "Put in people's hands the tools they need to understand."
Watts-Rynard says this tool will also help clear up some questions that may come as a result of a recent announcement by Canada's premiers of the creation of the Provincial-Territorial Apprentice Mobility Protocol.
Essentially, the protocol will enable the mutual recognition of technical training, work experience and examination results for apprentices who are moving between provinces and territories. By 2016, the training and hours completed by apprentices in one jurisdiction will be recognized by all jurisdictions across Canada.
While this news is encouraging, Watts-Rynard states CAF has seen a need to make the process more streamlined and clear for those directly impacted.
"We've been working on it for the better part of the last year, so really before any of this stuff was announced," she explains. "I think it showcases the fact that this is an area where there was getting to be a lot more interest."
Often times apprentices are asked to show paperwork, be it previous employers, course outlines, records of employment and a log book, for example.
"We have to recognize that the receiving province is still going to have requirements — evidence of your experience. There's still going to be some hiccups with that," she says.
"Someone says I want to move from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, what do I need to know? A lot of the difficulty around mobility might be that you'd expect that one province can just call the other province. But the truth is, the tracking systems between the provinces are substantially different. You have to expect the ability to pull the information from one province to another might be very different. There's still some things that employers and apprentices need to know."
The main idea behind the protocol, a statement from the premiers says, is to strengthen and modernize internal trade in Canada.
"The freer flow of goods, services, and people across Canada will help create the conditions for enhanced economic growth across the country," it reads.
"Reducing labour mobility barriers — including apprentice mobility barriers — will support major projects in every jurisdiction and help to build a skilled domestic workforce."
According to a release, across Canada there are around 350,000 apprentices, and close to 100,000 apprentices enter the system every year. However, according to a BuildForce Canada forecast, the industry is being faced with the challenge of offsetting the number of retirements, as up to 250,000 construction workers, or 21 per cent of the workforce, is set to retire in the next decade.
"We recognize that skills shortages have to be dealt with a number of ways," Watts-Rynard adds. "Apprenticeship can be a solution to labour shortage."