Canada’s workforce demographics are changing rapidly, notably in skilled trades. In the next decade, Canada could have 40% of its labour force over the age of 55, the highest proportion on its record(1). Baby boomers will be retiring en masse, and for the first time in history there will be up to four generations of Canadians in the workforce(2). These changes are swift, and present employers with the challenge of filling significant shortages of skilled trades workers(3). One obvious and necessary solution is to focus recruitment efforts on traditionally underrepresented groups such as women, Indigenous peoples, new Canadians, LGBTQ2+ and people with disabilities.

There are many educated and capable women ready and willing to fill the gap! According to 2019 Statistics Canada reports, 50.4% of Canada’s population are women and over 66% of them are aged 25-64 with education beyond high school(4). Attracting diverse employees, and retaining their talent by providing safe and inclusive work environments, has proven to have a positive effect on the workplace and on the company’s bottom line. There is ample evidence that shows diverse teams are better equipped to foster innovation and will drive company performance and profitability(5). 

It’s just SMART business!

About We Are Trades

We Are Trades provides employers with actionable steps to establish a safe and inclusive workplace for women. This is a journey and a process that takes time and dedication. We Are Trades is designed to guide successful workplace change in three steps: Commit, Create and Sustain. The journey may not look the same for every workplace, but the goal is shared: to build a work environment where each person is valued and respected for their contributions.

The We Are Trades three step process


Project Partners


  1. Fields, Andrew, Uppal, Sharanjit and LaRochelle-Côté, Sébastien. (2017). Insights on Canadian Society: The impact of aging on labour market participation rates. Statistics Canada.
  2. Weikle, Brandie. (2019). With 4 generations in the workplace, employers expected to juggle vastly different expectations. CBC News.
  3. Statistics Canada. (2021). Survey of Innovation and Business Strategy, 2019. Chart 2: Percentage of businesses in Canada that encountered skill shortages, 2019. Statistics Canada.
  4. Statistics Canada. (2021). Table 37-10-0130-01  Educational attainment of the population aged 25 to 64, by age group and sex, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada, provinces and territories. Statistics Canada.
  5. Eswaran, Vijay. (2019). The business case for diversity in the workplace is now overwhelming. World Economic Forum.