Happy 75th Anniversary to Apprenticeship Manitoba!

With an economy emerging from the Great Depression and former service personnel returning from World War II, Canadian provinces experienced a growing need for both skilled workers and available jobs in the mid nineteen-forties. In an effort to address these needs, Manitoba introduced The Apprenticeship Act. The Act, which was proclaimed by the Government of Manitoba on June 26, 1944, enabled workers to develop skills through on the job training, supplemented by theoretical training provided in school.

On July 11, 1944, the first provincial Apprenticeship Board was established in Manitoba by the Honourable James O. McLenaghen, who was the province’s Minister of Labour at the time. The Board was comprised of a group of seven members, including Frank Halls, chair; R.B. Russell and Cecil Roberts as employee representatives; A.K. McKenzie and E.R. Kennedy as employer representatives; R.J. Johns from the Department of Education; and R.A. Stewart, Deputy Minister of the Department of Labour. The role of Secretary to the Board was appointed to James Aiken, who would also take on the role of Acting Director for the newly formed Apprenticeship Branch.

According to Manitoba Labour’s Annual Report, 1945 the responsibility of the Board was to develop the initial structure of the apprenticeship program as well as its policies and procedures. In addition to the creation of the Board, seven Trade Advisory Committees were appointed to draft regulations for what would be the first thirteen designated trades in Manitoba.

In 1958 the Interprovincial Standards Program was established to address inconsistencies in trades training and journeyperson certification standards across Canada. The initiative, more commonly known as the Red Seal Program, created a national set of standards that made it easier for certified workers to have their credentials recognized in multiple provinces.

In 1960, the Technical and Vocational Training Assistance Act was passed by the Federal Government, followed by the Adult Occupational Act in 1967. These Acts made it easier for apprentices to attend the in-school technical training portions of their apprenticeship. It also improved the quality of the in-school training itself.

Over the years the number of designated trades in Manitoba increased substantially, which prompted the introduction of The Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act in the 1980’s. This legislation set out the parameters for the Apprenticeship and Certification Board, which became an advisory body to the Minister and whose tasks included the designation of apprenticeable trades.

In 2007 Apprenticeship Manitoba created the Apprenticeship Futures Commission (AFC) to consult with stakeholders in order to enhance the Manitoba apprenticeship and certification system. After the release of the AFC final report in 2008 the Manitoba Government introduced new legislation to support three of the 23 recommendations that were made.

On April 1, 2010, The Apprenticeship and Certification Act was proclaimed, which replaced The Apprenticeship and Trades Qualification Act. The Apprenticeship and Certification Board’s mandate was revised to include oversight of four standing committees: the Community Liaison Standing Committee, the Governance Standing Committee, the Program Standards Standing Committee and the Nominating Standing Committee. The work done by the committees ensures that the Board’s objectives are met through the annual Strategic Plan.

Today there are nearly 10,000 active apprentices in over 55 designated trades in Manitoba. Apprenticeship Manitoba has certified approximately 50,000 journeypersons since 1944.