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Apprenticeship in Canada: A Training System Under Siege?


  • Andrew Sharpe



This paper first reviews apprenticeship trends in Canada over the last two decades. It then examines prospects for labour market conditions for the total economy and for the construction sector to the year 2005 based on scenarios developed by the forecasting firm Informetrica for the IAS committees examining labour market trends in the construction trades. The paper finds that the apprenticeship system has a number of serious weaknesses. The trends described in this paper raise serious questions about the ability of the apprenticeship system in Canada to produce an adequate supply of qualified workers for the economy. As suggested by the title of this paper, the apprenticeship system may be under siege. If external pressure on the apprenticeship system to reform ?arising from a tight labour market ?continues to be weak, the impetus to reform the apprenticeship system must come from inside the system. Attention should focus on the reasons why Canada’s apprenticeship system appears unable to have its apprentices complete their programs in a timely manner, if at all; why the apprenticeship system has not expanded outside traditional occupations; and why women are not attracted to apprenticeship programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Sharpe, 1999. "Apprenticeship in Canada: A Training System Under Siege?," CSLS Research Reports 99ap, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  • Handle: RePEc:sls:resrep:99ap

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Charles Freedman & Tiff Macklem, 1998. "A Comment on "The Great Canadian Slump"," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(3), pages 646-665, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael R. Smith, 2001. "Technological Change, the Demand for Skills, and the Adequacy of their Supply," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 27(1), pages 1-22, March.
    2. Andrew Sharpe & James Gibson, 2005. "The Apprenticeship System in Canada: Trends and Issues," CSLS Research Reports 2005-04, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.

    More about this item


    Apprenticeship; Training; Construction; Labour Demand; Registration; Completion; Completion Rate; Skills; Skilled Labour; Skilled Workers; Trades; Red Seal;

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • M53 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Training
    • L74 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Construction
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity


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