Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak says there's a need to get more people working in the skilled trades, which he plans to address if elected premier next month.

Hudak has been talking about a "Million Jobs" plan that he will be gradually revealing details of during the election campaign.


Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak speaks at a construction site in Vaughan, Ont., Thursday. (David Donnelly/CBC)

As part of that rollout, Hudak said Thursday that a PC government would revamp the rules for apprenticeships in Ontario, so that more people can get into the trades.

"They have this old rule that dates back to the 1970s that says for every single apprentice in many trades you have to have four or five journeymen, so they limit the number of opportunities," Hudak said, during a campaign stop in Vaughan.

"Allow each journeyman to mentor and train an apprentice, one each, and that'll help create 200,000 positions."

The PC leader went on to say that with “one stroke of the pen” in a cabinet meeting, the existing ratio could be changed and would give young people greater opportunities.

The Tories say that such policies are holding back young workers, while benefiting unions that have previously backed the Liberals.

"Special interests like the Working Families Coalition want to artificially limit the number of people that get into skilled trades because it increases their bargaining power," he said. "I get that. I think it's wrong."

But Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne said Thursday that there was no evidence to suggest that changing apprentice ratios would create jobs.

She warned that if Hudak becomes premier, he will end grants to corporations and slash government spending, both of which will cost jobs.

"The cornerstone of Tim Hudak's jobs plan is actually to cut jobs, is actually to cut education and health care and to drive wages down," Wynne said in Ottawa. "The proposals we're putting forward are about creating jobs, supporting companies, building infrastructure, investing in an environment that is going to bring jobs."

Hudak was headed to Kitchener in the afternoon, where he was due to spend the rest of the day.

The election is on June 12.

With files from The Canadian Press