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Ontario Appoints Skilled Trades Special Advisor

May 29, 2024

Ontario Appoints Skilled Trades Special Advisor

New advisor to help secure labour supply in Ontario’s manufacturing, automotive and other sectors

The Ontario government is appointing Dave Cassidy, former President of Unifor Local 444, as a Skilled Trades Special Advisor (STSA) to the Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. The new advisor will assess the workforce needs in Ontario’s skilled trades, focusing on the manufacturing and automotive industries, including electric vehicles (EV). Over the last few years, the manufacturing and automotive sectors in Ontario have been rapidly growing and the province is expected to require over 500,000 additional workers in skilled trades-related occupations over the next decade.

“Ontario’s future is bright and skilled trades workers are a vital part of that future,” said David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Our government has attracted $43 billion in investments in advanced manufacturing, including automakers and EVs. As these sectors grow, we need to prepare our skilled trades workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and that begins with finding out where those jobs are and how we can build a talent pathway to fill them.”

As part of his new role, the Skilled Trades Special Advisor will work to ensure Ontario is well positioned to respond to the rapid development and expansion of our manufacturing and automotive sectors. His expert advice will be complemented by ongoing and robust stakeholder consultations which will serve to identify issues, challenges and areas of improvement within Ontario’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system.

The government has an ambitious plan to build Ontario and will need all hands on deck to deliver the roads, schools, hospitals, highways and homes the province needs. To meet the labour demands of Ontario, Mr. Cassidy will help deliver a final report informed by research and stakeholder feedback that includes recommendations on how to improve the skilled trades system.

“As our province continues to grow and attract new investments, we will need more skilled workers to support these growing industries,” said Dave Cassidy, Skilled Trades Special Advisor. “Not only will these workers help to build Ontario, but they will build a better future for themselves and their families. That is why I am thrilled to be working alongside Minister Piccini to ensure that Ontario’s workforce is ready to support the jobs of tomorrow.”

Mr. Cassidy is uniquely qualified for his new role as advisor, being a member of Unifor’s National Executive Board since Unifor was founded and elected to the National Skilled Trades Council as a Trustee in 2005. He also started his apprenticeship as an electrician right out of high school and was hired by Chrysler Canada in 1993. He has been elected to various positions during his career in the skilled trades, including shop floor steward and skilled trades chairperson at the Chrysler Windsor Assembly Plant. His previous experience in the automotive and manufacturing industries provides him with specialized knowledge of strong stakeholder relationships within those sectors, among other skilled trades.

Through Ontario’s Skilled Trades Strategy, Ontario has invested over $1.5 billion in the skilled trades since 2020. The appointment announced about a skilled trades special advisor is part of our government’s ongoing efforts to attract, train and protect workers, making this province the best place to work, live and raise a family.

Quick Facts

  • The Ontario government has attracted $43 billion in vehicle manufacturing and the EV battery supply chain over the last four years.
  • Ontario is expected to need over 500,000 additional workers in skilled trades-related occupations over the next decade.
  • Ontario is building at least 1.5 million homes by 2031 and we will need more than 100,000 workers to fill job openings in the construction industry over the next decade.
  • As of 2023, manufacturing jobs made up over 10 per cent of Ontario’s total employment.


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