Skip to Content
View site list


Pre-Bid Projects

Pre-Bid Projects

Click here to see Canada’s most comprehensive listing of projects in conceptual and planning stages

Associations, Government, Labour

Manitoba Building Trades says lay off threats over ratio change ‘fear mongering’

Warren Frey
Manitoba Building Trades says lay off threats over ratio change ‘fear mongering’

Manitoba Building Trades is taking issue with employers in the province, alleging apprentices are being told they will be laid off due to recent government ratio changes. 

The Manitoba government recently announced it will return to 1:1 ratios for apprenticeship training, a reversal of the 2:1 ratio enacted under the previous government. The Winnipeg Construction Association (WCA) and other construction stakeholders have objected to the change while Manitoba Building Trades supports the new ratio.

“Many apprentices are being told by their employer that they will be laid off as early as next week in light of the announcement. This is fear mongering and is creating undue stress on vulnerable employees. It’s shameful that contractors are threatening young workers like this,” Manitoba Building Trades executive director Tanya Palson said in a statement.

“Under no circumstance do we support or advocate for the layoffs of apprentices in our support for returning to a safe and sustainable ratio. Exemptions have always been in place to accommodate industry where there is a chronically a low supply of journeymen, including rural and northern Manitoba.”

The issue has yet to be discussed at the Apprenticeship and Certification Board, which will be tasked with identifying implementation plans and accommodations for existing apprentices, a Manitoba Building Trades release said.

Palson is the chair of the Apprenticeship and Certification Board. The release noted the ratio change will be done through a ministerial regulation, and the 2:1 ratio will remain in place until that process is complete.

“If a contractor’s response to this advanced notice is to immediately threaten their apprentices, it raises concerns about how committed they are to facilitating that apprentice’s journey to get their Red Seal certification. An industry association that is serious about growing the number of journeypersons, should be working to make the jobsite a less volatile workplace, with more consistent hours for apprentices, not threatening the opposite,” Palson said.

When asked for comment by the Journal of Commerce, WCA president Ron Hambley said he hadn’t heard of members speaking about layoffs but that the conditions raised by the new ratio might necessitate such action.

“The trades can say we’re fear mongering, but it will be illegal to have two apprentices, so they’ll have to let someone go. In this industry, it means a layoff,” he said.

“We hope that doesn’t happen, but I think that might be the case.”

He added while the government has announced the ratio change, the WCA is not aware of any accommodations and exceptions yet.

“All we’ve heard was that the government is going to enact the regulation that moves everyone to 1:1. We haven’t heard anything more of variations on that theme, just (that it has) been presented to us as 1:1,” Hambley said.


Recent Comments

comments for this post are closed

You might also like