Nova Scotia Apprentice Supervision Ratio Revised to Help Meet Labour Demands

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July 15, 2022

More skilled trades workers can seek certification in Nova Scotia with changes the Province is making to apprenticeship training requirements.

Amendments to the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act General Regulations include:

  • for most trades, increasing the number of apprentices a journeyperson can train from one to two
  • exempting youth apprentices from the journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio to remove barriers to youth apprenticeship while still providing direct supervision
  • adding flexibility for virtual supervision.

    “Skilled trades are an essential part of a growing, vibrant economy,” said Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration and the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency. “While the number of apprentices is growing, Nova Scotia is in need of even more workers to meet labour market demand and to support the needs of our growing population and economy.”

In Nova Scotia, if a person wants to attain certification in a skilled trade, they must first work as an apprentice with an employer to receive required on-the-job training. The training is done by certified journeypersons, and there is a limit on the number of apprentices they can train at a time, referred to as journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio. Employers must demonstrate they have enough certified journeypersons to train apprentices.

Prior to these changes, the ratio varied from trade to trade. For clarity and consistency, the amendments remove all references to the ratio in specific trade regulations, except for trades that have a ratio of other than one-to-two. This means there will be no changes to the current ratio for boat builders, ironworkers (generalist), marine service technicians, metal fabricators (fitters) and engine operators.

Before recommending the changes, the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency consulted with industry. Many sectors identified ratio requirements as a barrier to growth and recruitment.

In addition, the wage schedule in the Bricklayer Trade Regulations will be updated to ensure it is consistent with other trade regulations.


“Although the number of apprentices continues to grow in Nova Scotia each year, our labour market needs for skilled trades professionals is outpacing the capacity of the apprenticeship program to grow. Amending the general regulations to allow for an increase in the number of apprentices per journeyperson will increase the number of journeypersons over the long term as apprentices become certified.” ~ Marjorie Davison, CEO, Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

“Construction is at an all-time high in Nova Scotia, and businesses are having a difficult time recruiting. We need more options to make sure apprentices can learn from highly skilled journeypersons to not only replace retiring workers, but fill new positions. This cannot happen without changes to the current ratios. We welcome these necessary changes.” ~ Duncan Williams, President and CEO, Construction Association of Nova Scotia

Quick Facts:

  • according to Prism Economics, over 11,000 skilled tradespeople will be needed in Nova Scotia by 2030
  • to address these labour needs and based on current completion rates of apprentices, this will require the recruitment of over 22,000 apprentices before 2030 – more than double the current number of apprentices each year
  • on June 8, the Province announced the More Opportunity for Skilled Trades program, which returns a portion of provincial taxes to employed and registered apprentices or journeypersons under age 30

Go HERE for more information on NSAA


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