Hiring and training apprentices is a great way to build your team of qualified tradespeople. In Ontario, employers have numerous supports to help recruit and train apprentices. These incentives should be used whenever possible to offset labour costs and grow your team of high-quality employees.
One of the best incentives for employers is the Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (GAGE). GAGE funding is an entitlement program (similar to tax credits in nature) that provides employers with up to $16,700 – $19,200 throughout the apprenticeship training process. Funding is provided to employers incrementally following the completion of training levels and the final disbursement is provided when a Certificate of Apprenticeship is awarded to the tradesperson.
In November 2017, the Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers replaced a previously well-known apprenticeship funding program, the Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit (ATTC). This change was made to help more employers access funding for apprenticeships and trigger funding disbursements more frequently.
What is the Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers?
The Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (GAGE) is an employer-focused government funding program that offsets a portion of costs related to the hiring and training of an apprentice. Ontario skilled trades employers are automatically enrolled into the program when they register their new apprentice with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD).
GAGE funding provides up to $16,700 – $19,200 in funding, depending on the apprentice trained and level of training completed.
Employers are entitled to receive funding during their apprentice’s progression through formal classroom-based instruction. Based on the Ontario College of Trades’ approved curriculum, training programs are divided into four levels with a final examination to award a certificate of apprenticeship:
Employing an apprentice in an under-represented group (including women, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, newcomers and visible minorities, and Francophones) is eligible for an additional $500 in funding for each level of training completed. Employers should consider using this program advantage to diversify their workforce.
Who is Eligible for the Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers?
To access the Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers, companies must be a member of an eligible trade and ensure that they are capable of providing training to the apprentice. Eligible trades include (but are not limited to):
- Precision Metal Fabricator;
- Hydraulic/Pneumatic Mechanic;
- Hazardous Materials Worker;
- Mould or Die Finisher;
- Auto Body and Collision Damage Repairer;
- Brick and Stone Mason;
- Automotive Painter;
- Construction Millwright;
- Roofer; and
How Can Employers Access GAGE Funding?
The first step in accessing funding through the Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers is to identify an apprentice that is at least 16 years of age and meets the minimum education requirements of the trade. Not sure how to connect with young apprentices? This slide deck evaluates the top job boards and recruitment resources for Ontario employers to use.
Once an apprentice has been selected, employers must register them by contacting a local Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development apprenticeship office and signing a Registered Training Agreement (RTA). This process formalizes the apprenticeship and automatically entitles the employer to receive GAGE grants. Employers receive grants as the apprentice completes each level of training. This is provided as a cheque sent through the mail.