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Critics say Ottawa missing critical opportunity to bolster apprenticeships

OTTAWA - Stakeholders are disappointed that the Conservative government has declared its massive new federal-provincial infrastructure project open for business — with nary a mention of apprenticeships.

Ottawa kicked off its $14-billion New Building Canada Fund late last month, part of the government's 10-year, $53-billion plan to build new infrastructure across Canada.

The fund includes $4 billion for projects of national significance, $9 billion for provincial and territorial initiatives and $1 billion for projects in small communities with populations of fewer than 100,000 people.

But amid that infrastructure bonanza, there are no provisions for apprenticeships, a key plank of this year's federal budget.

Sarah Watts-Rynard, head of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, says she's disappointed by the absence of an apprenticeship component in the government's major infrastructure initiative.

She says the New Building Canada Plan gave the federal government a chance to support apprenticeships.

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