By Lincoln DePradine
The efforts of veteran tradesman and trade unionist Chris Campbell and others, who have been engaged in trying to recruit more women, Black youth and other ethnic minorities to join the skilled trades profession, have drawn the attention pf the Canadian government, which is providing financial assistance for a special program to be administered by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) Canadian District.
The government is offering $37 million to the UBC Canadian District to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Canadian construction and in manufacturing in what’s known as “Red Seal” trades.
The funding, announced by Carla Qualtrough, the minister of employment and workforce development, will enable approved SMEs to hire up to two new first-year apprentices per year over the next two years.
Under the Apprenticeship Service Program (ASP), SMEs can receive up to $5,000 for every new first-year apprentice they hire. An additional $5,000 is available if the apprentice is someone from an “equity-deserving group such as women, Indigenous people, newcomers, persons with disabilities, racialized communities including Black Canadians, and LGBTQ2’’.
The program also promises additional financial supports, through ASP, “to help employers navigate the apprenticeship system, onboard new apprentices and set up the appropriate workplace training’’.
Application for funding through the Apprenticeship Service Program can be made by visiting https://ubc-asp.ca
Campbell, one of the highest-ranking Black trade unionists in Ontario, for many years has been championing the cause of greater diversity in the trades.
He has been a mentor and also vice president of the Carpenters’ Union (Local 27). As well, Jamaica-born Campbell is equity, diversity and inclusion representative of the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario.
Campbell, in the latest recognition of his work, was named among the “100 Most Influential Black Canadians’’ at last weekend’s AFROGLOBAL Television awards’ ceremony.