BILL NO. 28

(as passed)

3rd Session, 58th General Assembly
Nova Scotia
52 Elizabeth II, 2003



Government Bill



Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act

CHAPTER 1 OF THE ACTS OF 2003



The Honourable Angus MacIsaac
Minister of Education



First Reading: April 4, 2003 (LINK TO BILL AS INTRODUCED)

Second Reading: May 9, 2003

Third Reading: May 22, 2003

Royal Assent: May 22, 2003

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An Act Respecting Apprenticeship
and Trades Qualifications

Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:

1 This Act may be cited as the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act.

2 In this Act,

(a) "ad hoc advisory committee" means an ad hoc advisory committee appointed by the Board pursuant to this Act;

(b) "apprentice" means a person who enters into an apprenticeship agreement with an employer;

(c) "apprenticeship agreement" means an agreement entered into by an apprentice and an employer in which the apprentice undertakes to learn a designated trade through apprenticeship training and the employer undertakes to employ the apprentice and provide the apprentice with practical experience and the opportunity to obtain technical training;

(d) "apprenticeship system" means a system of apprenticeship training that leads to a certificate of apprenticeship or certificate of qualification in a designated trade and includes a youth apprenticeship program, pre-employment apprenticeship training, skills upgrading and skills enhancement in a designated trade;

(e) "apprenticeship training" means training received by an apprentice in a designated trade as required under this Act, and includes practical experience and technical training;

(f) "Board" means the Apprenticeship Board appointed pursuant to this Act;

(g) "certificate of apprenticeship" means a certificate of apprenticeship issued pursuant to this Act;

(h) "certificate of qualification" means a certificate of qualification issued pursuant to this Act;

(i) "compulsory certified trade" means a designated trade that is specified as a compulsory certified trade in the regulations;

(j) "designated trade" means a trade designated by the Minister;

(k) "Director" means the Director of Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications appointed pursuant to this Act;

(l) "employee representative" means

(m) "employer" means a person, corporation, partnership, unincorporated association or a municipal, provincial or other public authority, that enters into an apprenticeship agreement with an apprentice;

(n) "employer representative" means

(o) "journeyperson" means a person who holds a certificate of qualification in a designated trade or a certificate recognized by the Director pursuant to the regulations;

(p) "Minister" means the member of the Executive Council assigned the management and responsibility of this Act;

(q) "municipality" has the same meaning as in the Municipal Government Act;

(r) "practical experience" means the portion of apprenticeship training in which an apprentice works on a job site learning the skills of a designated trade under the supervision of a journeyperson;

(s) "pre-employment apprenticeship training" means experience and training in a designated trade undertaken by a person prior to apprenticeship training through a training provider;

(t) "recognized association" means a union, organization or association that provides apprentices to do work within their designated trades for others;

(u) "technical training" means the portion of apprenticeship training in which the apprentice receives formal instruction, including theoretical aspects of the designated trade designed to supplement skills acquired through practical experience;

(v) "trade" includes a branch of a trade;

(w) "youth apprenticeship program" means experience and training undertaken by a youth in an apprenticeship program for youth recognized pursuant to the regulations.

3 The Minister has the general supervision and management of this Act and the regulations.

4 (1) The Minister may appoint an Apprenticeship Board of not more than fifteen persons consisting of

(a) three or more employer representatives and an equal number of employee representatives, the total of which must include at least one apprentice and one journeyperson;

(b) one or more members-at-large; and

(c) at least one person representing a post-secondary apprenticeship training provider.

(2) The persons appointed pursuant to subsection (1) must be persons who, in the opinion of the Minister, are knowledgeable in the areas of designated trades and the Provincial labour market and must be persons who meet any other requirements set out in the regulations.

5 (1) Each member of the Board holds office during the term, not exceeding three years, prescribed in the appointment of that person and, subject to subsection (2), may be re-appointed.

(2) Where a person has served two consecutive terms, that person may not be re-appointed until three years after the last term of office of that person has expired.

(3) A member of the Board whose term expires continues to hold office until re-appointed or a successor is appointed.

(4) The Minister may fill a vacancy on the Board by appointing a person to fill the former member's unexpired term.

(5) Upon recommendation from the Board, the Minister may revoke the appointment of any member of the Board who misses three consecutive meetings.

6 (1) The Minister may designate a member of the Board to be the Chair of the Board.

(2) The Board may designate a member of the Board to be the Vice-chair of the Board.

(3) The Vice-chair of the Board shall act during the absence or incapacity of the Chair.

7 (1) The Minister may provide the Board with any staff that the Minister considers necessary for the Board to carry out its functions and duties under this Act.

(2) The Minister may designate one of the persons referred to in subsection (1) as the administrator of the Board.

8 The Board shall meet at least six times per year.

9 A majority of the members of the Board constitutes a quorum.

10 (1) Each member of the Board who is not in the public service of the Province may be paid an honorarium in such amount as the Governor in Council determines.

(2) Each member of the Board shall be paid such reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in carrying out the duties of that member as the Minister determines.

11 (1) The Board shall

(a) recommend to the Minister whether a trade is appropriate as a designated trade and whether a designated trade is appropriate to be specified as a compulsory certified trade;

(b) when requested by the Minister, review, consider and make recommendations on any matters relating to the apprenticeship system;

(c) report to the Minister as the Minister requests;

(d) advise the Minister on matters relating to the suitability of the apprenticeship system as a means for training apprentices and journeypersons to meet the labour market needs of the Province;

(e) assist in promoting the benefits of apprenticeship throughout the Province;

(f) consider recommendations made by an ad hoc advisory committee;

(g) submit an annual report to the Minister and make recommendations on the distribution of the annual report; and

(h) perform such other duties as are prescribed in the regulations.

(2) The Board may

(a) examine and research any and all matters relating to the apprenticeship system and advise the Minister on those matters;

(b) conduct discussions with employers, apprentices and journeypersons regarding matters pertaining to the apprenticeship system;

(c) organize forums to identify trades that may be eligible for designation and determine the suitability of current designated trades with respect to labour-market needs;

(d) in conjunction with the Director and business and labour, assist in the development and revision of trade regulations.

12 (1) The Board may, in consultation with the Director, appoint a committee to act in an ad hoc advisory capacity to the Board concerning matters of the apprenticeship system.

(2) An ad hoc advisory committee may be appointed when

(a) an application to designate a trade or to specify a designated trade as a compulsory certified trade is submitted to the Board and the Board determines that there is a need to seek advice from industry; or

(b) the Board has determined a specific need to establish an ad hoc advisory committee with respect to any matter relating to the apprenticeship system in the Province.

(3) An ad hoc advisory committee must consist of not fewer than four and not more than eight members who, in the opinion of the Board, are knowledgeable in the areas of designated trades and the Provincial labour market.

(4) The membership of an ad hoc advisory committee must consist of at least one employer representative and at least one employee representative and, where applicable, the members of an ad hoc advisory committee must reflect the distribution of trades across the Province.

(5) The members of an ad hoc advisory committee shall select one of the members of the committee to be the chair of the committee.

(6) Each member of an ad hoc advisory committee shall be paid such reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in carrying out the duties of that member as the Minister determines.

13 A Director of Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications and any other employees required for the administration of this Act shall be appointed pursuant to the Civil Service Act.

14 The Director shall carry out the powers and duties assigned to the Director under this Act and the regulations and any other duties assigned by the Minister, including the following:

(a) keep a record of every apprenticeship agreement and every suspension, cancellation, transfer, termination or completion of an agreement;

(b) make or direct examinations, audits and inquiries to ensure compliance with this Act;

(c) plan and carry out a program of apprenticeship in a designated trade;

(d) undertake or contract for the training of apprentices related to the apprenticeship system;

(e) establish and approve curriculum standards for the technical training of apprentices and monitor the technical training;

(f) submit a report annually to the Minister;

(g) provide for the examination of apprentices and applicants for trade certification;

(h) conduct investigations relating to compliance with this Act pursuant to a written complaint or report; and

(i) suspend or cancel the registration of an apprenticeship agreement for cause.

15 (1) Subject to the approval of the Minister, the Director may appoint one or more examiners to assist in the conduct of examinations prescribed for a designated trade.

(2) Each examiner shall be paid such remuneration and such reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by the examiner in the performance of the duties of the examiner as the Minister determines.

16 For the purpose of ensuring compliance with this Act and the regulations, the Director, or any person authorized by the Minister in writing, may, during regular working hours,

(a) enter and inspect the premises, equipment and training facilities of an employer;

(b) require an employer to produce a book, payroll or other record;

(c) inspect, take extracts from or make copies of the records of an employer and inquire into matters that relate to the wages, hours of work, conditions of employment, training, qualification or supervision of any employer, employee or apprentice who has entered into an apprenticeship agreement registered pursuant to this Act.

17 (1) The Minister may designate by order a trade as a designated trade and the Governor in Council may, by regulation, establish or approve objectives, standards and requirements

(a) for apprenticeship training and certification in the trade; and

(b) for certification in the trade without apprenticeship training.

(2) The exercise by the Minister of the authority contained in subsection (1) is regulations within the meaning of the Regulations Act.

18 (1) A person who wishes to obtain a certificate of qualification in a designated trade and an employer who undertakes to employ the person as an apprentice to learn the trade shall enter into an apprenticeship agreement.

(2) A party to an apprenticeship agreement shall, in accordance with the regulations, apply to the Director to have the agreement registered pursuant to subsection (3).

(3) The Director shall register an apprenticeship agreement if the Director is of the opinion that the agreement

(a) complies with the regulations; and

(b) provides for the apprenticeship training required under this Act and the regulations.

(4) An apprenticeship agreement has no effect under this Act unless it is registered by the Director.

(5) Subject to the regulations, the Director may grant credits to a prospective apprentice for previous training and experience in the designated trade.

(6) The Director may, by giving written notice to the parties to an apprenticeship agreement, suspend or cancel the registration of the agreement if, in the Director's opinion, the apprentice is not receiving the apprenticeship training required under this Act and the regulations.

(7) A party to an apprenticeship agreement may terminate it without the consent of the other party and shall immediately give written notice to the Director.

(8) The parties to an apprenticeship agreement are deemed not to have contravened the agreement where the apprentice

(a) is lawfully on strike or is lawfully locked out by the employer; or

(b) is unable to work owing to a lawful strike or lawful lockout that affects the employer's place of business.

(9) An employer may assign an apprenticeship agreement to another employer, but only with the prior written approval of the Director and the consent of the apprentice.

(10) No person shall work for an employer as an apprentice in a designated trade except under an apprenticeship agreement, and no employer shall employ a person as an apprentice except under an apprenticeship agreement.

(11) The Director may require from the parties to a proposed apprenticeship agreement or parties seeking certificates of qualification such information as the Director deems necessary or as prescribed in the regulations.

(12) Where, before a trade becomes a designated trade, a person is employed pursuant to a written agreement in that trade, the employer shall, within three months after the trade becomes a designated trade, register the agreement pursuant to this Act, but the agreement is not otherwise affected by this Act.

19 (1) The Director may recognize and approve a recognized association to enter into an apprenticeship agreement through a joint registration agreement between the Director and the recognized association with respect to such trades as the Director specifies under terms and conditions as agreed upon by the Director and the recognized association.

(2) The Director shall record the approval and, for each recognized association, record

(a) the joint registration agreement;

(b) the trades for which the association may enter into apprenticeship agreements; and

(c) the number of journeypersons in the recognized association.

(3) A recognized association that enters into an apprenticeship agreement assumes the responsibilities of the employer of the apprentice under this Act.

(4) Where a person who is apprenticed by virtue of an apprenticeship agreement made and entered into pursuant to this Section is employed by a person other than the recognized association, the regulations respecting the trade to which the agreement relates and the terms of the agreement apply to the person who employs the apprentice.

20 Subject to the regulations, the Director shall issue a certificate of apprenticeship in a designated trade to a person who, in the opinion of the Director, has successfully completed the apprenticeship training and related certification examination.

21 (1) Subject to the regulations, the Director shall issue a certificate of qualification in a designated trade to a person who

(a) holds a certificate of apprenticeship; or

(b) in the opinion of the Director, otherwise meets the standards and requirements established for the trade and has successfully completed the related certification examination.

(2) The Director may suspend or cancel a certificate of qualification issued pursuant to subsection (1)

(a) if the Director is of the opinion that the holder of the certificate

(b) for any reason specified in the regulations.

22 (1) The Governor in Council may, by regulation, specify that a designated trade is a compulsory certified trade.

(2) A person shall not practise a compulsory certified trade unless the person

(a) is a party to an apprenticeship agreement for which an application for registration has been made and the application is pending;

(b) is engaged in apprenticeship training in the trade under an apprenticeship agreement registered pursuant to this Act;

(c) holds a certificate of qualification in respect of the trade and is in compliance with the regulations;

(d) holds a temporary permit issued by the Director pursuant to this Act in respect of the trade; or

(e) holds a certificate recognized by the Director pursuant to the regulations.

(3) An employer shall not employ a person in a compulsory certified trade if the employer knows, or would reasonably be expected to know, that the person is prohibited from working in the trade under subsection (2).

(4) Subject to the regulations, the Director may exempt a person referred to in subsection (2) and an employer referred to in subsection (3) from the application of those subsections.

23 (1) In accordance with the regulations, the Director may issue a temporary permit allowing a person to work in a compulsory certified trade.

(2) A temporary permit issued pursuant to subsection (1) is valid for the period, and is subject to any terms and conditions, specified in the permit.

24 (1) A person may appeal any of the following decisions made by the Director:

(a) the refusal to register an apprenticeship agreement to which the person is a party;

(b) the refusal to grant credits to the apprentice;

(c) the suspension or cancellation of the registration of an apprenticeship agreement to which the person is a party;

(d) the refusal to issue a certificate of apprenticeship to the person;

(e) the refusal to issue a certificate of qualification to the apprentice;

(f) the suspension or cancellation of the person's certificate of qualification;

(g) any other decision specified in the regulations.

(2) An appeal shall be commenced by filing a notice of appeal with the administrator of the Board within thirty days after the person is notified, in writing, of the refusal, suspension or cancellation or decision specified in the regulations.

(3) For the purpose of hearing an appeal under this Section, the Board shall, within thirty days after a notice of appeal is filed, appoint an appeal board consisting of

(a) a person designated by the Board as the presiding officer;

(b) one or two employer representatives who are, in the opinion of the Board, knowledgeable about the designated trade to which the appeal relates; and

(c) one or two employee representatives who are, in the opinion of the Board, knowledgeable in the designated trade to which the appeal relates.

(4) The number of persons appointed under clauses (3)(b) and (c) must be equal.

(5) The Minister may determine the amount of any remuneration and reimbursement for expenses that may be paid to members of the appeal board.

(6) An appeal board may, by order, do either of the following:

(a) confirm, vary or rescind the Director's decision; or

(b) refer the matter back to the Director for further consideration in accordance with the appeal board's direction.

(7) The appeal board shall notify the appellant and the Director in writing of its decision.

(8) The decision of the appeal board is final and binding.

25 Where a municipality requires a person engaged in a designated trade to have a licence issued by the municipality, that municipality shall not require a person who holds a certificate recognized by the Director pursuant to the regulations in that trade to take an examination before obtaining the licence.

26 The Minister may

(a) enter into agreements with

(b) enter into and carry out agreements with any person, group of persons, one or more employers or representatives of employers, one or more trade unions or one or more representatives of employees to co-operate in the establishment and provision of a plan or system of apprenticeship training in a trade;

(c) undertake research in the labour market generally, to determine present and future training requirements for designated and other trades that are suitable for designation;

(d) collect, compile, analyse and publish information relating to any research undertaken by the Minister pursuant to this Section;

(e) enter into and carry out joint registration agreements;

(f) prescribe forms for the purpose of this Act and provide for their use.

27 (1) A person who contravenes

(a) this Act;

(b) the regulations; or

(c) an order or directive of the Director,

commits an offence and upon summary conviction is liable to a penalty not exceeding five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months for a first offence.

(2) A person convicted of a second or subsequent offence is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not more than twelve months.

(3) Where a court of competent jurisdiction convicts a person charged with paying an apprentice at a lesser rate of wages than the rate prescribed by the regulations for the work performed by the apprentice, the court, in addition to imposing a penalty, may order the person convicted to pay to the apprentice the difference between wages at the rate so prescribed and the wages actually paid.

(4) Where the regulations provide for the issuance of a certificate based on the results of a test or trade examination everyone who

(a) assists another person taking the test or examination by, before the taking of the test or examination, knowingly conveying or disclosing to that person, directly or indirectly, any information respecting the contents of the test or examination; or

(b) is an applicant for a certificate and knowingly acquires or attempts to acquire, before taking any such test or examination, any information respecting the contents of the test or examination,

commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months for each offence.

(5) A person who acquires or attempts to acquire employment in a designated trade by the use of a certificate of apprenticeship or a certificate of qualification that is issued in the name of another person or that has been falsely or fraudulently obtained, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months for each such offence.

28 (1) Subject to subsection (2), where there is a conflict between this Act and any other enactment, this Act and the regulations prevail.

(2) Nothing in this Act or the regulations affects the rights and obligations of employers, employees and apprentices where those rights and obligations are included within a collective agreement within the meaning of the Trade Union Act.

29 (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations

(a) respecting the functions, duties and authorities of the Board, the Director and ad hoc advisory committees in addition to those functions, duties and authorities set forth in this Act;

(b) prescribing requirements for the purpose of subsection 4(2);

(c) respecting the qualifications of persons who may become apprentices in a designated trade, the nature, length and content of apprenticeship training and the objectives, standards and requirements of apprenticeship training;

(d) respecting the responsibilities of the apprentice and the employer;

(e) respecting the terms of employment of an apprentice;

(f) limiting the maximum number of apprentices in any designated trade at any particular time;

(g) respecting the minimum wages for an apprentice;

(h) respecting the terms and conditions upon which certificates of qualification may be issued to persons engaged in a trade;

(i) respecting the giving of examinations of apprentices and the issuance of transcripts;

(j) respecting the giving of examinations of applicants who have not taken or completed the prescribed apprenticeship training;

(k) providing for the suspension or cancellation of the registration of an apprenticeship agreement and for the suspension or cancellation of certificates of qualification;

(l) respecting the qualifications of persons who may become eligible for skills upgrading courses in any designated trade and prescribing the nature, length and content of such courses in preparation for a certificate of qualification;

(m) respecting the assessment of persons to determine readiness for apprenticeship training, skills upgrading and skills enhancement training;

(n) respecting eligibility requirements for employers;

(o) respecting the documentation of the progress of an apprentice throughout apprenticeship training;

(p) respecting standards of achievement;

(q) respecting the form, content, process for approval, registration and termination of an apprenticeship agreement;

(r) respecting the form and content of trade regulations;

(s) respecting objectives, standards and requirements for certification without apprenticeship training;

(t) respecting objectives, standards and requirements for the issuance and replacement of certificates of apprenticeship;

(u) respecting objectives, standards and requirements for the issuance, replacement and renewal of certificates of qualification;

(v) specifying reasons for suspending or cancelling certificates of qualification;

(w) respecting the conditions under which certificates of apprenticeship may be issued;

(x) respecting fees, including prescribing fees and requiring the payment of fees;

(y) respecting training standards and certification for trades designated by the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship, including the issuance of red seals and the recognition of red seals issued by other provinces under the Interprovincial Standards (Red Seal) Program;

(z) specifying decisions of the Director that may be appealed to an appeal board;

(aa) respecting the procedures to be followed in appeals conducted pursuant to the Act;

(ab) respecting the issuance of identity cards to apprentices and the holders of certificates of qualifications;

(ac) respecting the ratio of apprentices to journeypersons that may be employed by an employer;

(ad) respecting the requirement to have certificates of qualifications displayed in the workplace;

(ae) respecting the accreditation of training providers;

(af) respecting exemptions for the purpose of subsection 22(4);

(ag) respecting the issuance and cancellation of temporary permits;

(ah) respecting the recognition of other provincial certificates;

(ai) respecting designated trades and compulsory certified trades, including specifying that a designated trade is a compulsory trade;

(aj) respecting the granting of credits by the Director to a prospective apprentice or other person;

(ak) respecting the recognition of, or granting credits for, a youth apprenticeship program;

(al) defining any word or expression used but not defined in this Act;

(am) respecting any matter considered by the Governor in Council necessary or advisable to carry out effectively the intent and purpose of this Act.

(2) A regulation made pursuant to subsection (1) may apply to

(a) all designated trades;

(b) a particular designated trade or trades;

(c) a particular plant or plants;

(d) a particular industry or industries.

(3) The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority contained in subsection (1) is regulations within the meaning of the Regulations Act.

30 (1) In this Section, "former Act" means Chapter 17 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act.

(2) An agreement entered into under the former Act and in effect on the coming into force of this Act is deemed to be an agreement registered or entered into under this Act.

(3) A certificate issued, recognized or continued under the former Act and in effect on the coming into force of this Act is deemed to be a certificate issued, recognized or continued under this Act.

31 Chapter 17 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act, is repealed.

32 This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.

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This page and its contents published by the Office of the Legislative Counsel, Nova Scotia House of Assembly, and © 2002 Crown in right of Nova Scotia. Updated May 23, 2003. Send comments to legc.office@gov.ns.ca.