Women in Skilled Trades Initiative: Up to $3M for Trades Organizations

According to a recent report from Statistics Canada, only about five percent of trade workers across the country are women. To bridge this significant gender gap in the skilled trades, the Government of Canada is offering funding for organizations that will provide opportunities in finding, recruiting, and training Canadian women to feel comfortable in pursuing a career in the skilled trades.

The Women in Skilled Trades Initiative focuses specifically on breaking barriers for Canadian women to access a career in skilled trades jobs such as technicians, construction workers, electricians, and manufacturing mechanics. The program provides eligible organizations with up to $3 million to recruit, retain, and help women succeed in one of the official 39 Red Seals trades.

“Change that stigma, change that mindset, and give [women] an opportunity to try these different skilled trades careers and then in the end leave realizing that this is something that they are capable of doing.”
– Lindsay Chester, Program Manager for Skills Ontario’s Young Women’s Initiatives

Funding Snapshot: Women in Skilled Trades Initiative

The Women in Skilled Trades Initiative falls under the new framework of the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy (CAS) which the Canadian government announced in Budget 2019. The CAS was created with the overarching goal of promoting skilled trades as a good career option and thus encouraging more Canadians to comfortably explore careers in skilled trades by helping individuals prepare, participate, and succeed in apprenticeship programs.

In conjunction with the CAS, the Women in Skilled Trades Initiative program specifically focuses on providing eligible organizations with government funding to recruit, retain, and help Canadian women succeed in the 39 recognized Red Seals trades, many of which are found predominantly in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

You can learn more about the program in this snapshot below. Please keep in mind that eligible organizations must apply by December 1, 2022. Please connect with the Mentor Works team to streamline your application if your skilled trade business would like to participate in helping women access skilled trades careers.

Funding Amount:

Eligible organizations can apply for up to 90% of costs to a maximum of $3M per eligible project that is up to 48 months in duration. Other important criteria to note includes that:

  • Eligible organizations may only submit one application under this program; and
  • Successful projects are expected to begin in summer 2023.

Project Eligibility:

The Women in Skilled Trades Initiative aims to recruit, retain, and exclusively help women apprentices succeed in one of the 39 recognized Red Seal Trades by: ​

  • Organizing women-led outreach tools to help attract women to the industry;​
  • Creating partnerships with women’s groups, community colleges, etc.;​
  • Offering mentorship role models, networks, opportunities to share success; and
  • Creating a welcoming space for training and work sites.​

Applicant Eligibility: 

Eligible organizations that may apply for this government funding program are:

  • Unions;​
  • Not-for-profit and for-profit organizations; or​
  • Municipal governments, indigenous organizations, and provincial governments.​

Funding Application Deadline:

Eligible applicants must apply for the Women in Skilled Trades Initiative program by December 1st, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. EST.

Canadian Government Funding for Women in Business  

Whether a Canadian woman is looking to expand her horizons into a new career option such as pursuing skilled trades, or she’s an entrepreneur looking to build her own business into something innovative, it is important to recognize that risk factors for women in business are often higher than those for men and thus women benefit from extra support options.

The Government of Canada has established a multitude of funding programs that provide grants and loans for supporting women in business either directly or through organizations to help break barriers and create new opportunities for economic growth.

Stay up to date on women-in-business support programs, such as the Women’s Futures Programand Women Entrepreneurship Loans Through DELIA, by subscribing to our free weekly newsletter to learn more about grants and loans available for your business.

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