Fleming College to Cut Heavy Equipment and Generator Technician Programs; Amongst Many Others

Fleming College to Cut Heavy Equipment and Generator Technician Programs; Amongst Many Others

In a move that heavily impacts the local community and Heavy Equipment industry, Fleming College has recently announced the discontinuation of the Heavy Equipment and Generator technician programs along with many others imperative to the trades culture of Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes and the surrounding areas. At this time they have stopped any new students from registering and have stated that they will allow the current students to finish their prospective programs. To our current understanding, Fleming College is attributing the suspension of these programs to labor market demand, regional needs and demographics. However, one would question whether the decision to suspend these programs is based on fiscal returns to the college, and if the fiscal return to the community has actually been considered. For the Heavy Equipment and Generator Technician programs alone; 95% of graduates acquire a permanent and well-paying position within the community. Which would imply there is a great need in this region, market and demographic. 

Aside from the cuts that are likely to be made in educational personnel for these programs, the most immediate consequence from cutting these programs will be the loss of a valuable channel for skilled workers in the heavy equipment industry.  According to Employment and Social Development Canada, “ Now more than ever, skilled tradespeople are in high demand to fill well-paying jobs and build rewarding careers. Approximately 700,000 skilled trades workers are expected to retire in Canada by 2028, creating an ever-growing need to recruit and train thousands more” (2022). Additionally, the Heavy Equipment Technician program is a recognized Red Seal Program; “the Government of Canada is investing nearly $1 billion annually in apprenticeship supports through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training, project funding, and support for the Red Seal program.” (2022) This demonstrates there is a contradiction with the reasoning behind the College’s suspension of these programs. It is clear that Canada is in a desperate position when it comes to our numbers for skilled trades people, and so perhaps cutting both the Diesel Generator, and Heavy Equipment Technician programs is not the way to aid in filling that gap. 

Without this program, local small and large repair companies will face challenges in finding qualified technicians to meet their needs. This shortage of skilled labor could potentially lead to delays in repairs, increased costs, and decreased efficiency for many businesses. Ultimately, the closure of the Heavy Equipment Technician program at Fleming College will have economic repercussions for the local community. A significant number of students enrolled in the program come from Peterborough, Lindsay, and neighboring areas. These students contribute to the local economy through their spending on housing, groceries, transportation, and other goods and services. With the program’s closure, there will be a decline in student enrollment and a subsequent decrease in economic activity in the region. This region is one of the fastest growing regions in Ontario, and with the large increase in infrastructure there is a great need for technicians who can keep machinery in working condition so that these projects can continue unhindered. If these infrastructural projects cannot continue and are slowed down we will very quickly see our local economy begin to give way.

Moreover, for aspiring heavy equipment technicians in Peterborough, Lindsay, and nearby communities, the discontinuation of the Heavy Equipment Technician program represents a loss of access to quality education and training. Many individuals may have chosen to pursue this program as a pathway to a fulfilling career in the heavy equipment industry. Without this option, they may be forced to seek education and training opportunities in other locations, potentially leading to a ‘brain drain effect’ as talented individuals leave the region in search of suitable programs elsewhere. The only other Heavy Equipment technician programs are at Centennial College in Scarborough, which is about an hour away and Cambrian College in Sudbury and Boréal College in Timmins, both over 4 hours away, which are all not necessarily commutable distance from our area.

In response to Fleming College’s decision to cut the Heavy Equipment Technician program, it is essential for the local community, industry stakeholders, and government representatives to come together to explore potential solutions. Collaboration between educational institutions, industry associations, and local Heavy Equipment and Generator Repair companies can help identify alternative training programs, apprenticeship opportunities, or funding sources to support the development of a skilled workforce in the heavy equipment industry. As demonstrated we have a labor market demand, as well regional needs for this program. Iron Equipment on behalf of those being affected by this decision would like to seek assistance from the community and ask for you to contact your local MPP’s and/or government representatives regarding this matter. 

Thank you, 


Jamie Molloy

Kyle Irwin                                                                                                           

The Iron Equipment Team 


Canada, Employment and Social Development. “Government of Canada Invests to Help Canadians Enter Skilled Trades.” Canada.ca, July 27, 2022. https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2022/07/government-of-canada-invests-to-help-canadians-enter-skilled-trades.html. 

College, Fleming. “Fleming College.” Fleming Announcements, Updates, and FAQs. Accessed April 30, 2024. https://flemingcollege.ca/fleming-announcements.