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Ontario's Minister of Labour starts province-wide tour to hear about problems in skilled trades

Ontario's Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development started a province-wide tour Friday to learn how government can make the apprenticeship system easier and fill the gap in skilled tradespeople.

Minister Monte McNaughton in North Bay Feb. 3 on provincial tour

Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton (left) visits a company in London, Ont. on Friday as he began his province-wide tour to hear about skilled trades, and how to address the looming shortage of workers. (Twitter @MonteMcNaughton)

Ontario's Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development wants to know how government can make the apprenticeship system easier.

Monte McNaughton started a province-wide tour Friday in London, Ont. 

He says it's part of the ministry's efforts to address the shortage of skilled workers due to aging and retiring journeypersons.

McNaughton wants to hear from business owners, apprentices, industry experts and others.

"If government is in the way and government's adding red tape to the process, then I want to get government out of the way and tell business that we'll be there to work with them," he said.

Earlier this month, his ministry launched a marketing campaign meant to attract more young people to a career in the skilled trades.

McNaughton says the government has several initiatives to address the problem, but adds that more employers have to step up to the plate by bringing on more apprentices. 

"And from the government's perspective, you know, we're working with them, listening to them, as well as winding down the College of Trades and changing this ratio of journeypersons to apprentices one to one," he said.

The dates and times for McNaughton's province-wide tour are still being determined, however he will be in North Bay on  Feb. 3.

With files from Angela Gemmill

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