Ontario Training Next Generation of Shipbuilders in Hamilton
Ontario Training Next Generation of Shipbuilders in Hamilton
Jul 13, 2023 12:52:18 PM

HAMILTON — The Ontario government is investing over $3.7 million to help 300 shipyard workers, apprentices, and jobseekers in Hamilton and Port Weller get the training they need to earn bigger paycheques for themselves and their families. This funding will help modernize Ontario’s shipyards to attract lucrative shipbuilding contracts and thousands of well-paying jobs to the province.

“From the auto-sector to shipbuilding, we’re bringing manufacturing jobs back to Ontario,” said Premier Doug Ford. “This new investment will help to ensure that Ontario workers have the skills needed to fill critical labour shortages so we can rebuild our manufacturing industries and build the infrastructure our growing province needs.”

Led by Heddle Shipyards, new and existing workers will have the chance to participate in 12 months of hands-on and in-class learning focused on improving and refreshing technical skills in ship repair and shipbuilding, shipyard health and safety knowledge, and professional development and leadership training. There will also be courses for workers to begin in-demand careers in the skilled trades as welders, millwrights, and electricians, helping tackle the critical shortage of workers in the sector.

“Ontario will need over 100,000 more workers in the skilled trades this decade to build the infrastructure families and businesses rely on,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Careers like those in shipbuilding are meaningful, well-paying and can offer the path to a better life. That is why our government will continue to invest in ground-breaking training programs to help workers and jobseekers gain the skills they need to land better jobs and bigger paycheques in their communities.”

Workers will also be trained and up-skilled in repairing wooden vessels – a highly specialized and well-paying sector of the ship repair industry. The project aims to increase job opportunities for women, youth, and other under-represented groups in the industry and will include mental health support.

"The Ontario Shipyard Modernization Project has been instrumental in expanding the skills of our people and creating good jobs across all three of our shipyards in Ontario,” said Shaun Padulo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Heddle Shipyards. “We will continue to support jobseekers who face higher barriers to entry and enhance pathways to meaningful and well-paying employment, including having brought 10 Ukrainians and their families to start new lives in Ontario. We thank Premier Ford and Minister McNaughton for making an investment that will pay dividends for Ontario and its workers for generations to come."

The project is funded through the government’s Skills Development Fund, an over $700 million initiative, which supports ground-breaking programs that connect jobseekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying careers close to home.

Quick Facts

  • Through its first three funding rounds, the Skills Development Fund has supported 596 projects, aiming to help almost 522,000 people around the province take the next step in their careers.
  • To help tackle the province’s labour shortage and get more people into rewarding careers in the skilled trades, the Ontario government is also investing $224 million more in a new Skills Development Fund Capital Stream to build and upgrade training centres.
  • Founded in 1987, Heddle Shipyards is the largest Canadian ship repair and construction company on the Great Lakes.
  • Across Ontario, there are roughly 300,000 jobs estimated to be currently vacant.
  • Ontario’s Skills Development Fund is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.


"Our government understands that the skilled trades and shipyards contribute significantly to Hamilton’s economy. This welcomed investment will ensure that our community is competitively positioned to attract good-paying job opportunities with a skilled workforce that is trained in leading edge technologies and processes."

- Neil Lumsden
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport and MPP for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek

"Our government is helping train workers for well-paying, rewarding jobs in the skilled trades. This will fill critical labour needs in our economy, while supporting economic growth here in Hamilton through innovative local employers like Heddle Shipyards."

- Donna Skelly
Member of Provincial Parliament for Flamborough–Glanbrook

"This investment is a tremendous opportunity to create more high-paying jobs in our community, and also reinforces Hamilton's status as a critical transportation and training hub in the province. Thank you to our provincial partners for your continued support of developing skilled trade workers, now and into the future."

- Andrea Horwath
Mayor, City of Hamilton

"A critical component to the long-term success of the Ontario Shipyard Modernization Project pertains to ensuring that Ontario’s workforce is equipped with the skills and resources necessary to remain adaptive in an evolving workplace. Hamilton Chamber of Commerce member Heddle Shipyards will benefit greatly from this investment by supporting the ongoing reskilling and upskilling of its employees, while simultaneously advancing the further diversification of its workforce and strengthening the province’s supply chain network resiliency."

- Greg Dunnett
President & CEO, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce

"The Ontario Marine Council would like to congratulate Heddle, a member of the OMC, on their funding approval for Phase II of the Ontario Shipyard Modernization Project. Marine training is one of the key priorities advocated by the OMC to be included in a long-term Ontario Marine Transportation Strategy and we are pleased that the Ontario government’s new funding of educational programs is aimed at helping the training, re-training and recruitment of a skilled marine workforce. This announcement showcases the economic benefits of Ontario’s growing marine industry and how this growth can be sustained through a collaborative and supportive marine transportation strategy."

- Maguessa Morel-Laforce
Executive Director, Ontario Marine Council

"The marine sector faces looming labour shortages due to aging demographics and will need to hire thousands of people for well-paying, rewarding careers in shipyards, in ports, in offices and onboard vessels over the next decade. The Ontario government’s investment today is an important step towards helping ensure the right training is in place to build an inclusive and future-ready workforce for ship repair/building in the province."

- Julia Fields
Executive Director, Canadian Marine Careers Foundation

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