Building Trades Unions have a working model that demonstrates how industry can lead and deliver apprenticeship training, and it is important that these good working practices continue.

We are very involved in training today’s workforce for tomorrow; there are now over 2,700 apprentices in the province’s Building Trades and in partnership with our contractors, we invest over $7 million dollars annually in training and training facilities.

The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency (NSAA) is responsible for stewarding and operating a relevant, accessible and responsive industry-led trades training and certification system.

The Mainland Building Trades is fully supportive of this new special operating agency and its vision for Nova Scotia’s trades training and certification system. Brad Smith, Mainland Building Trades’ Executive Director, sits on the Agency Board as Vice-Chair, and as the voice of organized labour around this table, will work to increase the profile and opportunities for our apprentices.


Apprenticeship has been working by different rules in each province, and this has created barriers for both apprentices and employers. Harmonizing apprenticeship training will encourage labour mobility and greater employability of apprentices and journeypersons.

Apprentices can now move between provinces and territories more easily to complete their training. As of January 1st, 2016 apprentices’ technical training, work experience and examination results are now recognized across the country.

In the fall of 2016, changes were made to the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act General Regulations and trade regulations to align the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency’s programs and training across the country. These changes will help apprentices complete their training more easily, so they can take full advantage of the opportunities here in the province. Creating consistency across the country will also help employers recruit the people they need. The amendments took effect on April 1, 2017, and will impact apprenticeship programs. The NSAA has a list of compulsory certified trades; you can review the changes by scrolling to the applicable trade.