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Research & Reports

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The 2018 conference highlighted initiatives, programs and strategies that contribute to Canada’s world-class apprenticeship system. Delegates heard about innovative approaches to training, workplace and mentoring initiatives, and the engagement of under-represented groups and youth.


Opening Ceremony
Welcome & Opening Prayer – Mr. Charles Otsitsakenra Patton,  Chief Rhonda Kirby, Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke
CAF-FCA Welcome – Gerald Clark, CAF-FCA Board Chair

1:30 – 4:30pm
Panel & Interactive Session

View Presentation
Apprenticeship: Facing Change Head-on
Panel: Angelo Cosco, Mohawk College; Katherine Jacobs, Ontario Construction Secretariat; Sherri Scully, Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise; Josie Weitzenbauer, Léché Desserts

The skilled trades are facing changes whether we are ready for them or not.  At this session, we will look at the key change factors impacting sectors and trades, and consider their implications for apprenticeship training.  How are we preparing for and embracing the challenges ahead?  The answer speaks to the future of Canada’s world-class apprenticeship systems and whether we are poised to be innovation leaders.

5:30 – 9:00pm
Reception & Opening Banquet


Networking Breakfast

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Ken Coates, Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation

Future of the Trades, Trades of the Future
We live in a world of rapid technological change, digitization and new, disruptive technology.  The skilled trades and the training of tradespeople is clearly part of this transformation.  National and regional prosperity, in fact, could well rest on the collective ability of tradespeople, training institutions, apprenticeship and accreditation programs, corporations and government agencies to anticipate, respond to and capitalize upon the latest innovations.  A responsive, well-informed and technologically proficient trades sector is central to economic and commercial development.

The Honourable Patricia Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour


Apprenticeship in Québec
View Presentation
Speakers: Jean-Sébastien Drapeau, Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur; Philippe Gagnon, Commission de la construction du Québec; Élise Martel, Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale

Though the apprenticeship system in Québec does not involve alternating periods of on-the-job and technical training, the aim to provide a combination of theoretical knowledge and hands-on skill is the same.  This session will leave apprenticeship stakeholders from across Canada with a deeper appreciation of the similarities and differences of the Québec apprenticeship model.


Networking Break

11:00am – 12:30pm
Concurrent A Sessions

A1. Technical Training Designed to Support Innovation
 View presentations
Emily Arrowsmith, Canadian Apprenticeship Forum; Ginny Coyne, Yukon College;  Scott Hodgson, Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario; Rodney Holt, Red Deer College; Nicole Mahoney, NAIT;  Ken Monroe & Paul Simpson, Thompson Rivers University; Steven Moores, Okanagan College
Training institutions from every corner of Canada are experimenting with new ways to overcome the barriers associated with technical training. Learn about how the apprentice learning environment is changing and how  innovative strategies are supporting apprentice skills development, progression and completion. Join us for a cracker barrel session examining what institutions are learning about new teaching strategies and alternate delivery of technical training.

A2. Implementing Harmonized Trades Across Jurisdictions
View presentation
Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship
Speakers:  Darlene Clark, Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency; John Poirier, Ontario College of Trades; Jeff Ritter, Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission; Colleen Rogan, Industry Training Authority of BC

The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) is responsible for the Red Seal Program, which develops common inter-provincial standards and examinations.  In 2014, the CCDA began an effort to substantively align apprenticeship systems across Canada by making apprenticeship training requirements more consistent.  With harmonization well underway, this session will share lessons learned and challenges overcome.

A3. How Essential Skills Support Apprentice Success
View presentations
Lisa Ambaye, Ottawa Community Coalition for Literacy; Stewart Kallio, Kallio Consulting; Cindy Messaros & Sue Ogochi, Alberta Workforce Essential Skills Society
Research shows that essential skill deficits have real consequences on skilled trades worksites, leading apprentices to abandon their training, impacting productivity and potentially putting others at risk.  Recognizing that a solid base of communication, reading, numeracy and digital skills are precursors to successful apprenticeship completion, learn how organizations across Canada are supporting apprentice success through essential skills initiatives.

A4. Cross-case Analysis of Shared Apprenticeship Models in Ontario
View presentation
Andrew Bieler, Ontario Centre for Workplace Innovation
This presentation will outline the results of five pilot projects that involved sharing responsibility for the administration and training of apprentices across multiple employers in a range of sectors.  Reviewing initial results, the analysis looks at the capacity for consortia approaches to increase diversity, improve training quality, engage small- and medium-sized employers and improve completion rates.

A5. Newcomers in Trades: Opportunities Challenges and Successes
View presentations
Kendra Duval, YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region; Adam Krygier & Laura Diaz, Momentum Community Economic Development
Current and future labour needs in the skilled trades provide opportunities for newcomers to Canada as part of the solution.  Hear from two organizations working with immigrants to help them build sustainable careers in skilled trades occupations by addressing essential skills, pre-apprenticeship training and employer engagement, as well as providing extended supports.

A6. Experience Matters: An Examination of Technological Education Teachers in Ontario Secondary Schools
Catharine Dishke, Thompson Rivers University; Ron Hansen, Western University; Tracy Gedies, Fanshawe College
Presenters will share the results of a three-year technological teacher education project in Ontario based on a mixed-method research study with 725 secondary school trades teachers.  Discussion will focus on how trades educators navigate secondary school systems with emphasis on recruitment, preparation, certification and advancement.  The study yields important insights into the credentials, skills and experience of technological education teachers, as well as their perceptions of their role.


12:30pm Lunch

Panel: Trends and Key Issues

View presentation
Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship – Carla Corbett, Alberta; Marjorie Davison, Nova Scotia; Gary Herman, British Columbia; Jessica Kells, Employment & Social Development Canada; John Poirier, Ontario; Jeff Ritter, Saskatchewan
Apprenticeship authorities across Canada are dealing with many of the same key trends and policy issues, though their responses must cater to regional needs and expectations.  During this armchair discussion, Directors of Apprenticeship from various parts of the country will focus on efforts underway in areas such as apprentice completion, increasing diversity and technological change in the skilled trades.

2:30pm Networking Break

Concurrent B Sessions

B1. OntarioLearn: An Online Approach to Supporting Skilled Trades
View presentation
Shaun Barr & Sandra Larwill, Algonquin College; Mark Lamontagne, Canadore College
While “traditional” often describes education and training in skilled trades and apprenticeship, an innovative partnership among Ontario colleges is developing online courses and programs designed to increase access to and participation in apprenticeship training across the province.

B2. Meeting the Challenge: Apprenticeship Programs Weigh in on the Future
View presentation
Justin Held & Julie Stich, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Since 2010, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans has conducted a biennial apprenticeship benchmarking survey in Canada and the United States, helping apprenticeship stakeholders identify trends.  Top Trends in Apprenticeship: 2018 Survey Results focuses on program challenges, recruitment and retention initiatives, life skills and financial literacy initiatives, communication methods, instructor quality and partnerships.  Best practices are identified based on quantifiable program success measures.

B3. Joining Forces to Advance Women in Apprenticeship in Nova Scotia
Doreen Parsons, Women Unlimited Association
Women Unlimited and the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency have joined forces to advance women in apprenticeship and the skilled trades. In 2017, they formalized a partnership to identify and address the systemic barriers diverse women face in apprenticeship by improving completion rates, celebrating their contributions, engaging more employers and influencing the culture of skilled trades training institutions and workplaces. Come and learn about this win-win initiative!

B4. Innovation in Youth Engagement
Trent Soholt, Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council  View presentation
After years of providing career information to students across the province, the Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council was looking for a way to engage youth that went beyond brochures.  Since opening in 2014, the Trades Exhibition Hall has hosted more than 4,000 youth for a one-of-a-kind immersive experience.  This presentation will cover all aspects of the Trades Exhibition Hall, from inception to day-to-day operations, as it makes a vital connection between hands-on learning and youth engagement.

B5. Augmented Reality in Trades Training
View Presentation
Angelo Cosco, Mohawk College; Darcy Wallace, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
Learn how two technical training institutions are exploring augmented reality in their apprenticeship training programs.  At Mohawk College, HoloLens technology is being used to deliver the practical, in-school portion of Instrumentation training.  At the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, augmented reality content is being imbedded into Automotive Service Technician training.  Presenters will speak to how interactive experiences can blend with traditional delivery methods to enhance student learning.

B6. Building Initiatives that Support Apprentice Completion
Rod Bianchini & Michelle McKinnon, Industry Training Authority of BC
This presentation will focus on the impact of BC’s Apprentice Completion initiatives both on completion performance measures and for individual apprentices who felt stuck in a system that wasn’t working for them.

Concurrent C Sessions

C1. Pathway to Apprenticeship
View presentation
Jacqueline Andersen, Women Building Futures 
This presentation will showcase the first Pathway to Apprenticeship pilot, encompassing key insights and perspectives from an industry partner, a participating apprentice and Women Building Futures.  A pilot program in Fort McMurray, the program involves six employers, Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, Keyano College and 14 women.  The women completed an assessment and attended four weeks of training before rotating into an apprenticeship.  Graduates are on track to heavy-duty equipment technicians.

C2. Public Sector Apprenticeships: How to Change the Culture to make Apprenticeship work for Unions and Employers
Randy Anderson-Fennel & Kirk Mercer, CUPE  View presentation
This presentation will address the current state of public sector apprenticeship, where most organizations continue to lag behind their private sector counterparts.  Efforts to advocate for apprenticeship in trades occupations in education, health care and municipal environments, among others, relies on a broader understanding of the opportunities for public sector employers and unions to work together.

C3. Initiatives to Engage Indigenous Apprentices
Andrew Regnerus, CLAC; Karen LeBlanc, Joint Economic Development Initiative; Andy Nieweglowski, Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services
Across the country, stakeholders are finding innovative ways to engage and retain Indigenous apprentices.  These initiatives seek to overcome common challenges, while recognizing and responding to the needs of individuals.  This panel will showcase three such programs.

C4. Employer Driven: A Recipe for Success
Tim Moore, Jacobs; Christina Taylor, New Brunswick Teen Apprentice Program View presentation
The New Brunswick Teen Apprentice Program has been facilitating the early connection between industry and young New Brunswickers since 2011.  An employer-driven summer pre-apprenticeship program for students from Grade 10-12, the program started with six students working for one employer.  The program now involves 130 students, 80 employers and 25 different skilled trades.  Attend this session to hear about successes, challenges and lessons learned.

C5. The Introduction to Cook Apprentice Program: A Pathway to Success
Rupert Kaupp and Wayne Hunter, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology; Jennifer Medlock, United Way of Calgary – All In for Youth 
Since 2015, the Introduction to Cook Apprentice Program has provided an alternative learning opportunity for students at risk.  A collaboration between SAIT, the United Way, the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District, the program evokes, inspires and promotes student passion through the provision of an organized, attractive and supportive work environment where students work with professional role models.  Graduates go on to complete high school, gain employment and enter into further training.

C6. Atlantic Apprenticeship Harmonization Project
View presentations
Sandra Bishop, Newfoundland & Labrador; Carol MacCulloch, Nova Scotia; Melissa Young, New Brunswick
As the first phase of the Atlantic Apprenticeship Harmonization Project is completed, hear how processes and standards have been aligned to ensure more consistency and efficiency in the way people enter the trades and work toward certification. Harmonization has addressed registration and completion requirements, hours, curriculum and sequencing. We have also developed a shared apprenticeship management system. Join us at this session to hear industry feedback on the impact of harmonization and discuss next steps.

5:15 – 7:30pm
Networking Reception – Agora, Fairmont Queen Elizabeth



Panel: Skilled Trades: Enabling Innovation and Automation

Facilitator: Nobina Robinson, Polytechnics Canada; Panel: Steve Barkhouse, Amsted Design Build; Cecile Bukmeier, NAIT; Don Gosen, Ontario College of Trades; Todd Young, Industrial Electrician Apprentice, ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks
Skilled tradespeople are essential for putting new technologies and processes to practical use across a vast number of industry sectors. As companies grapple with harnessing automation in the workplace, building innovative solutions for the future of production, and bringing new solutions to market for the benefit of consumers, technical training providers are preparing apprentices to survive and thrive in a time of transformational change with modernized facilities, new equipment and advanced teaching methods. Join us to hear how these new approaches are preparing apprentices with in-demand skills, and why employers value the innovation skills of apprentices.

Networking Break

10:30am – 12:00pm
Concurrent D Sessions

D1. Showcasing Competency in Safety-Critical Occupations
Robert Smart, Vametric Corp. & Canadian Apprenticeship Forum
Today’s technology provides unprecedented opportunity to track competency development via video, audio and other forms of evidence. Join us for this session to weigh in on the need for greater transparency, legal defensibility and the authentication of skills development among apprentices as we demonstrate a system that verifies and authenticates skills in multiple disciplines and occupational areas.

D2. Pre-apprenticeship Best Practices
View presentations
Speakers: Delaine Coleman, RSE, Electrical Industry Training Centres of Alberta; Warren Hertier, RSE Project Supervisor, Manitoba; Erik Hueglin, Joint Apprenticeship Council (GTECA & IBEW Local 353); Kelly Kienleitner, RSE, Electrical Joint Training Committee; Carol MacLeod, National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO); Chris Taran, RSE, IBEW Code of Excellence Training Centre Local 2085, Graham Trafford, RSE, General Manager, Mott Electric CP, British Columbia
This presentation showcases four best practice models used by NETCO’s electrical industry training partners in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.  Each program is effective in promoting apprenticeship completion, trades certification and the participation and success of youth, women, Indigenous people and newcomers.

D3. Initiatives Designed to Address Learning Disabilities Among Apprentices
View presentations
Gordon McGregor, Algonquin College; Dawn Stanger, Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission; Corinna McFeaters, University of New Brunswick
Across the country, apprenticeship stakeholders understand that barriers to apprenticeship completion are as varied as the individuals working on their trade certification.  Among the challenges that many apprentices face is a learning disability that may require accommodations or additional support.  Attend this session to learn more about what is being done across Canada to support apprentices with identified disabilities.

D4. FutureBuilder: Engaging the Next Generation
Abigail Fulton, Construction Foundation of British Columbia
This session will highlight how the Construction Foundation of British Columbia is working with high schools to ensure students are aware of the Industry ASK (Attitude, Skills and Knowledge).  Working with students in grades 10 through 12, FutureBuilder includes an online tool that tracks, verifies and logs student activities as they consider future job opportunities.  Secondary school apprenticeships, safety certifications, drivers licensing, volunteering and individual projects are promoted.

D5. Statistics Canada: Apprenticeship Data and What It is Telling Us
Graham Ziegler, Kristyn Frank & André Lebel  Statistics Canada
Researchers at Statistics Canada have developed linkages between the Registered Apprenticeship Information System and tax data, resulting in new insights about the labour market returns of apprenticeship, inter-provincial mobility and how apprentices fare in specific programs.  Along with insights about women in male-dominated trades from the 2015 National Apprenticeship Survey, this session will provide an overview of current statistical data and what it tells us about apprenticeship training in Canada.

D6. Improving Performance Through Mentorship: A National Demonstration Project
View Presentation
Bill Ferreira, BuildForce Canada; David Gyarmati, SRDC; Kyle Downie, SkillPlan
This presentation will introduce a new national demonstration project testing an enhanced mentorship model for the construction sector.  The construction industry is facing an increased need for rapid skills development given the scale of forthcoming retirements.  This is a challenge for the apprenticeship system and current journeypersons who are responsible for mentorship.  The model will be tested with up to 1,000 apprentices and journeypersons in 4 – 6 trades across four regions of Canada.

Diversity Lunch

This session focuses on diversity and inclusion in the skilled trades. Over the lunch hour, CAF-FCA will bring national profile to local initiatives, creating awareness for our like-minded partners. Indigenous and other diversity-focused organizations will share information about their programs and initiatives. This is a great opportunity to network, learn about what is going on across the country to engage, support and be inclusive to under-represented groups and explore potential partnerships.

Panel – Indigenous Peoples in the Building Trades: Sharing Success, Identifying Gaps

Facilitator: Lindsay Amundsen, Canada’s Building Trades Unions; Panel: Larry Villeneuve, LiUNA; Lyle Daniels, Saskatchewan Building Trades; Darlene Paradis, Trade Winds to Success; Kelly Power, IBEW; Carla St. Louis, Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario
This invigorating panel discussion will share success stories and challenges in the work to recruit and retain Indigenous peoples in the building trades.

Apprentice Panel - Voices from Inside Apprenticeship in Canada

Panel: Joey Barnes, Ironworker Apprentice (Québec); Meagan Conway, Industrial Millwright Apprentice (Ontario);  Riley McBride, Electrical Apprentice (British Columbia); Crystal Peyton, Carpentry Apprentice (Newfoundland & Labrador); Aaron Taves, RSE Automotive Service Technician (Alberta)

Panelists will share their perspectives about apprenticeship training, including the challenges they face and their insights about what is needed to improve Canada’s apprenticeship systems.

Closing Ceremony

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