London North Centre MPP Deb Matthews makes a $24M announcement at the LiUNA Local 1059 Region Training Centre on Firestone Blvd., August 10, 2017. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News.)

Province Invests In Green Construction Training

Training Ontario apprentices and tradespeople in low carbon, green construction practices is the focus of a $24-million investment by the provincial government.

London North Centre MPP Deb Matthews announced the funding that will come from Ontario’s cap and trade program on Thursday at the Labourers International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 1059 Region Training Centre on Firestone Blvd.

The money will go to add new green training curriculum standards for apprentices, upgrade facilities that offer green building skills training, and research into green labour force needs.

There is currently a shortage of workers in Ontario with the know how to build low carbon facilities, according to Matthews.

“I was talking to someone who was in the plumbing and HVAC world and he is trained to certify LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings. He said that when he goes to do those inspections what he often finds is that they used all of the right materials, the building was designed to LEED standards, but the actual people who were doing the installation didn’t have the skills. You have to train the people so they have the skills to make sure we maximize the carbon reduction,” said Matthews.

Almost one quarter of Ontario’s total greenhouse gas pollution comes from buildings and the energy they consume, the province has indicated.

At this point, it is unclear how much of the $24-million will end up in London. Colleges, universities, and unions will now have to apply to receive a cut of the funding for green building skills training.

Fanshawe College President Peter Devlin, who attended Thursday’s announcement, praised the green training initiative as tremendously exciting.

“We have a very rich, strong apprenticeship program and trades training program and so we are always in close communication with the ministry to be able to take advantage of funds to be able to modernize, expand, and tweak our trades training programs,” said Devlin. “This is exciting and I look forward to learning more about (the initiative) and how Fanshawe College can take advantage of some of that $24-million.”

The province has committed to cutting greenhouse has emissions to 15% below 1990 levels by 2020.