Ontario invests for training, safety of electrical workers

Topics covered include electrical maintenance, power generation systems and health and safety regulations for workers

Ontario invests for training, safety of electrical workers
The training is expected to start in August this year.

Ontario is investing $5.3 million to support new and enhanced state-of-the-art training for electrical workers.

“Young people need to know that a career in the electrical trades is in-demand, exciting and within reach,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development. “We’re helping them get there by investing in great ideas like this one, which will help new and experienced electrical professionals sharpen their skills with state-of-the-art training. This is just one more way we’re keeping our economy strong.”

The program – offered in partnership with electrical contractor Spark Power – will provide free training for those individuals and upgrade their existing online, on-the-job and in-classroom education programming. Spark Power will also create scholarships to encourage youth to pursue rewarding careers in electrical professions.

Overall, 500 electrical workers will benefit from the program.

“We are thrilled to receive grant funding from the Skills Development Fund. With this support, Spark Power is enhancing its training initiatives by focusing on the company’s electricians, technicians, and apprentices,” said Richard Jackson, president and CEO of Spark Power. “This year-long program will enable us to continue implementing and expanding innovative educational technologies, cross-team training, and outreach to local high schools and post-secondary institutions to recruit new talent within the power sector.”

The free training will cover topics such as electrical maintenance, power generation systems and health and safety regulations for workers and potential new employees. The new program will use a variety of modern learning techniques, including virtual reality and augmented reality, webinars, online training, hands-on training and job shadowing.

In October 2020, Great Lakes Greenhouses Inc., of Leamington, Ont., was fined $120,000 following a fatal electrical shock incident involving one of its workers.

The training is expected to start in August this year.

Electrical utilities must incorporate portable generator safety messages into their communication with customers, especially in times of power outages, according to the Portable Generator Manufacturers’ Association (PGMA).


Also, Spark Power will provide paid placements for co-op students and apprentices to help them start their careers.

“The Ontario government continues to generate innovative solutions to get our province back to work and ensure businesses have access to the qualified people they need to recover from the pandemic,” said Stephen Crawford, MPP for Oakville and parliamentary assistant to the minister of infrastructure. “The Skills Development Fund investment of $5.3 million to Spark Power Corp provides an opportunity to deliver advanced training and employee development. Spark Power will continue to be a local leader and job creator.”

Funding for the project comes from Ontario’s $115 million Skills Development Fund. More than 500 applications were received in the first month for this new fund, and a second application round is being planned for later in 2021, according to the government.

In 2016, nearly one in three journeypersons were aged 55 years or older, showing the need urgency to replace retiring workers.

In its 2021 budget, the federal government invested an additional $614.3 million during 2020–21 and 2021–22 to provide targeted employment and training supports.

On May 6, 2021, the government introduced the Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act to make the province’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system more efficient, accessible and easier to navigate. If passed, the legislation will help tradespeople get their certification from one reliable, streamlined destination through a new Crown agency, Skilled Trades Ontario, that would replace the Ontario College of Trades.