Where Trades Work (and live)

Learn, Work, Live
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The Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board

3 May, 2022

Trades jobs in Quinte are paying upwards of $90,000 per year.

Where to live? Where to work? These are questions that are consuming Canadians every day more than ever. We in the Bay of Quinte are officially throwing our hat in the ring as the answer to both, and here’s why.

The average home price in the BoQ is still almost $100,000 less than the national average, and our communities have been recognized as some of the top places to live in Canada by MacLean’s magazine. As well, there is a multitude of high-paying jobs begging to be filled here in the trades. (Yeah—the trades. If your image of the skilled trades is the last-ditch option for your friend who didn’t finish high school, it’s time to think again; they’ve changed radically over the past few decades.) Positions can range from entry-level construction jobs to more specialized trades like electrician, mason or pipefitter. Typically, the more specialized positions bring in the most income. For example, general labourers earn over $24 per hour, while pipefitters in a supervisory role, which would necessitate a higher level of education and training, earn over $40 per hour.

Population and business growth in the Bay of Quinte have taken off recently, and the increase in trade positions has mirrored this growth. Employment Ontario data shows a need to fill over 4,700 jobs in trades in the region over the next few years to keep up with demand, with the majority paying close to $30 per hour. Opportunities to operate your own business as a tradesperson are also better than ever.

So, whether you’re just learning the tricks of a trade, are a jack-of-all-trades or are a master of one, making a move to the BoQ is trading up! Consider this a legal insider trading tip. (You’re welcome.)

Five Top-Paying Trades Positions in the Bay of Quinte Region

(The Employment Ontario data is for the next two years and was facilitated by the Centre for Workforce Development)

PIPEFITTING CONTRACTOR & SUPERVISOR:                                           

$90,144 median wage, 7 expected jobs.


$70,506 median wage, 170 expected jobs.


$60,322 median wage, 941 expected jobs.


$60,124 median wage, 310 expected jobs.

HEAVY-DUTY EQUIPMENT MECHANIC:                                                

$59,746 median wage, 430 expected jobs.


The local honest truth is the proof

Why is the Bay of Quinte so attractive for building a life in the trades? We reached out to three locals to see what they had to say. In their answers, we found that even though their paths have been varied and they are at different stages in life, all of them had community, opportunity and an attractive lifestyle at the top of the list.

KYLE ROSE (learning the tricks)

Kyle is currently working for a home renovation company as a plumbing apprentice as well as  attending Loyalist College as part

that process.

How did you get into the trades?

Out of high school, I started working in different types of factories and manufacturing facilities, and after ten years I decided it wasn’t for me. I finally found plumbing and home renovations are the right fit, and I really enjoy doing them.

Does education give you an advantage?

You need an apprenticeship to go to school. You work for a certain number of hours, then go to school for a few months, then back to working, and repeat that for about five years. It’s great. You get better every day and learn things you can integrate into your career.

What do you love about your job?

I’m working for a home renovation company and I’m a plumber apprentice. We go in and look at the skeleton of a house and put the plumbing in and build the house up around it from there. I also get to do framing, drywall, insulation—everything—so it’s a lot of fun.

What is the pay like?

Once you become your own journeyman with a license, your salary goes way up. Maybe you make $17 an hour to start, then you get your ticket and you’re making $45 an hour. Then you take on your own apprentices to help build your business.

Why is the BoQ good for trades?

There’s so much demand for work. Plus, the advantage of moving your business here is there’s so much to do year-round, like ice fishing, fishing, snowboarding, walking your dog in the parks and so many things for kids. And it’s right in the middle between Ottawa and Toronto so you can take a short drive in either direction and be where you want to be.

WARREN PRICE (jack-of-all-trades)

Warren is the former owner of Warren & Company Contracting, Ltd, a bathroom and kitchen renovation company. He is currently transitioning into retirement.

How is the transition going?

I was the previous owner and recently sold the company. I decided to stay on and manage the office, taking calls and providing estimates. I assess the jobs and then schedule the team based on the work required.

What do you love about this new role?

I really enjoy meeting new people and providing homeowners with upgrades to their kitchens and bathrooms. It’s a small town so the majority of people know each other and we know all the different contractors, which gives us the ability to build our reputations.

Why is the region good for the trades?

What’s unique in our community right now is the number of people that are moving here and buying a house knowing that they want to do some renovations to their liking. So this has been great for the trade community. If you were to move to the Bay of Quinte area, the big thing is your pace of life is a bit slower because you don’t have to drive as far or through as much heavy traffic. You’d enjoy the sports—hockey, soccer, the Bay of Quinte for water and boating—and there are all sorts of places close by for hiking and biking.

What’s it like living in the BoQ?

We have everything here that’s required for my lifestyle. I moved here from Edmonton because my wife was from here. We really enjoy it. Coming to this area allows me to do all the things I want to do outside of work. I have a cottage and we go fishing and boating, I can go to Belleville Senators hockey games— things I might not be able to do in the big city. I like hiking and fishing and four-wheeling and sightseeing, so my summers are great because I get to do all of these things in this area.

HEATHER SAVAGE (mastering one)

Heather is enrolled in the Architecture program at Loyalist College and has already graduated from the Carpentry & Renovation program and the Art & Design program.

How did you get into the trades?

When I was first coming out of high school I had no idea what I wanted to do. I took Art & Design and realized I didn’t want to be an artist, and I had always had an interest in building houses and carpentry.

Where has learning a trade led you?

When I took carpentry at Loyalist, I realized it wasn’t all about being a carpenter. There are many other opportunities. Now I’m studying architecture, and when I graduate I’ll have an opportunity to make a better salary because I’ve become more specialized.

Why did you choose architecture?

I don’t know yet if I love architecture. What I do know is that I find it exciting and challenging, and my aptitude and love for math and art lend well to it. I’m not sure if I’ll even end up with a career in this field, but I can already tell the skills I’m receiving will be a benefit to me for the rest of my life.

What advantages does the BoQ have?

The biggest advantage to being here is the number of trade jobs available. It’s an area of growth, so this is a great place for anyone interested in getting new business ideas off the ground.

What do you like about living here?

What’s been great for me is all the community support I’ve received. I have struggled with mental health issues for most of my life. For a long time, I was afraid I was never going to achieve any kind of stability—financially or emotionally. Thanks to my support team I’m beginning to feel like there’s not much I can’t achieve. Thanks, everyone!