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Pre-apprenticeship Training for Roofers
Background Briefing for Union Locals and Joint Training Trusts

The Building Trades and the Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA), represented by Canadian Council of Sheet Metal Workers & Roofers (CCSMW&R), have a reputation for quality work and pride in their traditions.  There is a new plan to encourage new entrants to join this tradition.  CCSMW&R leaders, in cooperation with contractors, have designed a pre-apprenticeship program for new entrants.  This plan is part of a longer-term strategy to build the depth and breadth of the skilled roofing workforce.

The market is strong and new work opportunities will bring recruits into the trade.  Pre-apprenticeship through the SMWIA (CCSMW&R) and its contractors will add to your membership and build a larger share of the market for union contractors.  The program targets improved safety and higher productivity that benefit your employers.  It also targets secure and long term roofing teams where all members contribute and enjoy the work.

Why Pre-apprenticeship?

Training and certification are core values for the Building Trades and their employers.  Commitment to training programs has sustained leadership in construction.  New technology and market pressures are leading some governments to consider lower levels or relaxed standards of certification.  These changes are not welcome in roofing where new systems and safety concerns underline the need for more, not less, training.  The pre-apprenticeship program is designed to enhance apprenticeship and build a future with more certified roofers.

Pre-apprenticeship has been tried and proven in British Columbia.   This program has been reviewed by CCSMR&R leaders and the best union roofing trainers in Canada and reflects their input.  Every effort has been made to incorporate the best programs from across Canada.  There is no duplication with existing efforts and the program has been tailored to incorporate provincial regulations that apply in your area.

Pre-apprenticeship will encourage new roofers to join the union and build a career in roofing.  It is the first step in a long-term plan to build the ranks of unionized roofers through apprenticeship.  The trades are the founders of Canada’s construction apprenticeship programs.  This program will coincide with national and provincial campaigns to promote careers in the trades as well as bigger and better apprenticeship programs.

What’s in it for SMWIA Members?

The market for roofing is growing and your union will grow along with it.  New entry- level members will replace temporary and unskilled helpers who had no allegiance to the union and your employers.  A focus on safety will improve your work experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Members may be concerned that new members will reduce their hours.

The pre-apprenticeship plan is part of a larger strategy based on expected growth in the market and replacement needs as older members retire.  Union leaders will monitor the available work to make sure that new entrants have secure work at no cost to the existing membership.
 Members are reluctant to take on added responsibilities for training.
There will be very limited need for additional supervision.  The pre-apprenticeship program will teach new workers safety and other skills that are already required by provincial regulations.  Obligations imposed by the Provinces are being replaced by opportunities to build the unionized workforce.

For further information, please call:
Bob Brunet, Canadian Roofing Contractors’ Association  (CRCA)    1-800-461-2722
Mark Curtis, Sheet Metal Workers Internatiola Association    1-800-448-4177