Education Action: Toronto

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8. Schools and apprenticeships

Schools and Apprenticeships

What follows is a set of broad policies for apprenticeship preparation within our school system.

They are in early draft form. We hope you will contribute to strengthening these policies with us. Please send us your criticisms and your suggestions for change. We can be reached at

A valuable source of information, analysis and recommendations for reform of Ontario apprenticeship training can be found on the website of the Ontario Federation of Labour: Just type in “apprenticeships” in search box. The Ontario Federation of Labour maintains office hours Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. General inquiries may be sent to TELEPHONE: 416-441-2731 
FAX: 416-441-1893 or 
 TOLL-FREE: 1-800-668-9138 
TDD: 416-443-6305

We are for:

  • The establishment and maintenance of two equally strong streams (academic and technical) in secondary schools, undifferentiated by ability or results, each of which provides pathways to post-secondary education or the workplace
  • School programs that integrate pre-apprenticeship education and their subsequent role in apprenticeship training into a strong general education
  • The requirement that all trades be covered by regulated apprenticeship programs that include quality classroom education in literacy, mathematics and science
  • School apprenticeship programs that provide better guarantees of worker mobility in a changing economy by building knowledge of a whole trade
  • Apprenticeship programs that allow the time and exposure necessary to turn proficiency in the basic skills into genuine expertise
  • Block release programs for people in school-apprenticeship programs
  • The compulsory inclusion of health and safety education as well as environmental responsibility and citizenship both in school programs generally, but also specifically with respect to trades training
  • Appropriate safeguards for apprentices to ensure that financial barriers and fluctuations in company payroll not interfere with their opportunity to complete their apprenticeship
  • A compulsory training levy on all employers not already investing in apprenticeship or contributing to approved training trust funds
  • Restoration of provincial funding, lost in the Harris years, for shop classes in schools
  • Funding from all levels of government, employers and others that covers the costs of both pre-employment training programs but also in-service upgrading, literacy training, and retraining of laid-off workers
  • Equitable apprentice wage rates, inclusive of in-school training
  • Equitable Employment Insurance policies for apprentices subject to lay-offs, that will allow them to complete their in-school training
  • Funding for apprentices who need to move and/or travel for schooling
  • Training and apprenticeship programs sensitive to the needs of future workers in all equity-seeking groups
  • Apprenticeship programs and other training programs that give government, along with the appropriate unions and employers an equally strong voice in their development, regulation and certification
  • The strengthening of existing governance structures along with a bipartite labour-employers umbrella board in a co-ordinating role
  • The regulation of all authentic trades through a single piece of legislation in Canada
  • Allocation of responsibility for the accreditation of graduating apprentices to an apprenticeship branch in the appropriate provincial ministry
  • Standardization of trade categorization and training standards throughout Canada
  • A major government effort to promote careers in the skilled trades as well as inter-provincial mobility (portability of credentials)
  • Significant acceleration and improvement in foreign credential recognition and prior learning assessment

We are against:

  • The use of school streams that differentiate expectations of life after school, by separating those expected to enter post-secondary education and continue learning from those expected to enter the workplace and implicitly abandon organized learning
  • The use of trades credential harmonization that facilitate worker mobility as a rationale for the imposition of standardized testing regimes
  • School programs that dilute the requirements for a general education where students in shop courses and other forms of vocational training are concerned
  • School apprenticeship programs that fragment trade knowledge into narrow specializations, thereby severely affecting worker mobility in times of rapid change and increasing the cost of retraining programs correspondingly
  • Day release programs for people in school-apprenticeship programs
  • Apprenticeship programs that are based on one-off demonstrations of basic competencies
  • Attempts to cut corners by reducing or omitting a strong health and safety content of school and on-the-job trades training
  • The use of the professional college model for apprenticeship and trades governance, or any governance model that delegates individuals who are not directly accountable to the organization

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