Collaboration between industry, education and labour will spark the nuclear welding workforce of the future

Woman of Steel participant welding a T joint in the horizontal position using the Shielded Metal Arc welding process.

The CWB Welding Foundation, Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB), UA Canada and Black & McDonald are announcing an innovative collaboration to build career possibilities for local youth. This partnership will enhance welding education at four DCDSB secondary schools, help students build skills to prepare them for good jobs in the welding trade, and develop the skilled welders required to fulfill OPG’s workforce needs.

This year alone, this project will benefit more than 300 students from the four participating schools: St. Mary Catholic Secondary School (Pickering), Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School (Oshawa), Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School (Whitby) and Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School (Ajax).

The CWB Welding Foundation, Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB), UA Canada and Black & McDonald

The four schools are being outfitted with a total of 21 state-of-the-art welding booths equipped with brand-new industry-grade ventilation and 3-1 multi-process welding machines. Along with these major upgrades, each of the schools will be provided with 50 auto-darkening helmets, welding jackets, gloves and other personal protective equipment essentials. The upgrades have been completed and students are expected to begin using the equipment early in the new year.

In addition, some students will have the opportunity to augment their skills by accessing expert trainers from UA Canada Local 46 and Local 401 in a virtual orientation day and a customized 30-hour training program in the future. This significant contribution from UA Canada will help to further educate students and provide the necessary guidance and opportunities for success in the welding field. Students with a promising aptitude for welding will be identified and potentially offered apprenticeships, as well as pathways to employment.

Black & McDonald, an integrated, multi-trade service provider, is also supporting this project.

The Canadian welding and fabrication industry is experiencing a shortage of welding professionals, due to an aging Canadian population, a lack of young people being attracted to the skilled trades and the reduced focus on skilled trades training in secondary and post-secondary institutions. Recent labour market surveys indicate strong growth for the welding and joining industry over the next decade and beyond. Nuclear power, shipbuilding, oil and gas, manufacturing and other sectors are acting now by partnering with the CWB Welding Foundation, education and other not-for-profit organizations to address the skills shortage and skills mismatch and build the welding workforce of the future.


“The CWB Welding Foundation is excited to be partnering with industry, education and labour to build awareness about welding as a gateway to a rewarding career for Durham youth, while aligning with the workforce development needs of local industry,” said Susan Crowley, Executive Director of the CWB Welding Foundation. “Ontario is investing in the Bruce and Darlington nuclear generating stations, which means the need for skilled welders will increase. This partnership will help to address that need while sparking local career possibilities.”

“Welding booths in our schools will offer students like me more opportunities to enhance our skills,” said Nathan, a Grade 12 student at Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School. “Thank you for providing us with the tools and equipment needed to learn how to weld. These skills will help us in the future as we begin careers in the Trades and local workforce.”

“Skilled tradespeople are the backbone of our economy. Without them, our province could not function,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “This partnership between industry leaders, educators and the talented membership of UA Canada will connect students with in-demand, rewarding careers and lifelong success.”

“At OPG, we are well aware of the current and pending demand for skilled tradespeople,” said Helen Viveiros, an OPG project manager.  “We are pleased to be part of a project to ensure students who might not otherwise have had an avenue to explore welding as a future employment path will now have that opportunity. We know welding is one of the highest demand trades in the province, and that skilled welders will be needed for OPG projects now and in the future. That’s why it’s critical to support students as they learn more about this in-demand career.”

“Welding is a key skill used by many apprentices and journey people in the skilled trades,” said Tracy Barill, Director of Education at the Durham Catholic District School Board. “Our Board is pleased to expose students to welding and offer them opportunities to explore careers in the Trades. We are extremely thankful for this partnership and the chance to spark a passion for welding in our secondary students.”

“UA Canada is proud and excited to participate in this collaboration,” said Alanna Marklund, National Manager for Youth, Diversity and Indigenous Relations with UA Canada. “The generous investments made here are showing students that a career in welding is something to be proud of. The 30-hour course being provided by UA Canada at UA Local 46 and 401 training centres will show these students that it takes dedication, knowledge, and skills to have a successful career in welding. This collaboration showcases that welding and the skilled trades really are lifelong opportunities that provide pathways to careers in the construction, manufacturing and maintenance industries.”

“Black & McDonald recognizes the critical importance of welding in the nuclear industry. Highly skilled trades are an essential component in the work we perform. By investing in this partnership we are helping sustain a skilled workforce who play an indispensable role in developing clean reliable power to the province of Ontario” said Tracy Mason, Director Corporate Quality Assurance with Black & McDonald Limited.


About the CWB Welding Foundation: The CWB Welding Foundation is a national registered charity, established in 2013, that relies on the support of industry and community organizations to address the welding skilled trade shortage and mismatch in Canada. Through education-based programs and initiatives, we reduce barriers that affect key groups: elementary, secondary, and post-secondary students and educators; Indigenous people; women; and the underrepresented. We envision a future where all individuals are encouraged and given the support they need to reach their true potential in a career in welding. Learn more:

About OPG: OPG is a climate change leader and the largest clean electricity generator in the province, providing more than half of the power Ontarians rely on every day. It is also one of the most diverse generators in North America, with expertise in nuclear, hydroelectric, biomass, solar and natural gas technologies. Visit us at or follow us @opg.

About the Durham Catholic District School Board: The Durham Catholic District School Board shares a sense of community among families, educators and parishes and is committed to integrating the teachings of the Gospel with quality educational programs that guide students in their journeys to meeting the Catholic Graduate Expectations. The Board currently serves approximately 21,000 students in Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, and the townships of Uxbridge, Scugog and Brock.

About UA Canada: The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States, Canada (UA), affiliated with the national building trades, represents approximately 340,000 plumbers, pipefitters, sprinkler fitters, service technicians and welders in local unions across North America. We also honor a federation agreement with both the Australian Plumbing Trades Employees Union (PTEU) and Irish Technical, Engineering Electrical Union (TEEU). Learn more:

About Black & McDonald Limited: An integrated, multi-trade service provider that safely delivers high-quality construction, facilities management, and technical solutions to government, institutional and industry clients. Strictly following a nuclear safety culture, including individual and management commitment to safety and management systems that promote accountability, a questioning attitude, communication, conservative decision making, continuous improvement, safe work processes, problem identification and resolution, and an environment for raising concerns. With outstanding safety records, our highly trained and experienced nuclear employees enable nuclear excellence. As a single-source, multi-trade service provider, we bring capability, responsibility, and accountability to our complete engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) solutions.

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