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Ontario appoints special advisor to help grow the skilled trades

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May 29, 2024
By Talent Canada

The Ontario government has appointed Dave Cassidy, former president of Unifor Local 444, as a skilled trades special advisor (STSA) to the Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. In this role, Cassidy will assess the workforce needs in Ontario’s skilled trades, focusing on the manufacturing and automotive industries, including electric vehicles (EV).

Over the last few years, the manufacturing and automotive sectors in Ontario have been rapidly growing and the province is expected to require over 500,000 additional workers in skilled trades-related occupations over the next decade.

“Ontario’s future is bright and skilled trades workers are a vital part of that future,” said David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Our government has attracted $43 billion in investments in advanced manufacturing, including automakers and EVs. As these sectors grow, we need to prepare our skilled trades workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and that begins with finding out where those jobs are and how we can build a talent pathway to fill them.”

Cassidy’s advice on responding to the rapid development and expansion of the province’s automotive and manufacturing sectors will be complemented by ongoing stakeholder consultations to identify issues, challenges, and areas of improvement within Ontario’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system.


“As our province continues to grow and attract new investments, we will need more skilled workers to support these growing industries,” said Cassidy. “Not only will these workers help to build Ontario, but they will build a better future for themselves and their families.”

Cassidy has been a member of Unifor’s national executive board since Unifor was founded, and was elected to the National Skilled Trades Council as a trustee in 2005. He also started his apprenticeship as an electrician right out of high school and was hired by Chrysler Canada in 1993. He has been elected to various positions during his career in the skilled trades, including shop floor steward and skilled trades chairperson at the Chrysler Windsor Assembly Plant. His previous experience in the automotive and manufacturing industries provides him with specialized knowledge of strong stakeholder relationships within those sectors, among other skilled trades.

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