Aboriginal Ironworkers
Aboriginal Ironworkers

The industry

Ironworkers work mainly in three sectors of the construction industry:

  1. Heavy industrial construction, which includes building industrial facilities such as cement, automotive, chemical or power plants, refineries, oil-sands installations and off-shore rigging platforms.
  2. Institutional and commercial construction, which involves building commercial and institutional buildings and structures such as stadiums, residential towers, schools, grocery stores and hospitals.
  3. Civil engineering construction, which includes entire engineering projects such as highways, dams, water and sewer lines, power and communication lines, and bridges.

How it works

You can enter the ironworking industry in several ways.


You can start out in the trade by registering as an ironworker apprentice. Most provinces offer formal ironworker apprenticeship programs.

In Alberta or Quebec, you are required to register as an apprentice before you can start work. To register, you need an employer or labour organization to sponsor your apprenticeship. Even in provinces where apprenticeship is voluntary, it’s still a great way to learn the trade and is recommended by most ironworkers. To learn more, you can visit the Apprenticeship section.

Straight to work

In provinces and territories where apprenticeship is optional or unavailable, you can start out as a labourer and learn the trade on the job. Some ironworkers find work as a direct-hire through an employer. You can also start out by contacting a labour organization or an open-shop contractors’ association.

Labour organizations and open-shop and construction associations

There are many resources available to help you get started in ironworking.

The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers is the ironworker labour organization. It represents ironworkers across North America and has 15 local offices throughout Canada that represent field ironworkers. Any of the local offices will help you register as an apprentice and make sure that every hour you work is counted towards your apprenticeship.

Construction associations are made up of construction contractors and other industry associations, such as labour relations and insurance groups. Construction associations represent Canada’s non-residential construction industry.

Merit contractors’ associations represent some of Canada's open-shop construction contractors.

The Christian Labour Association of Canada [LINK TO www.clac.ca] is a national organization that represents construction professionals in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario.

For more information on getting started as an ironworker, you can register in the Resources section of this Web site. From there, you can download the employee guide Ironwork Getting Started, which provides tips on finding work through a labour organization or open-shop association, preparing for an interview and what to expect on the job.

You can also contact one of the local offices listed below:

International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers

Local 725
2915 21st Street NE
Suite 104
Calgary, AB T2E 7T1

Local 720
10512 122 Street
Edmonton, AB T5N 1M6

Local 752
14 McQuade Lake Crescent
Suite 103
Bayers Lake Park
Halifax, NS B3S 1B6

Local 736
1955 Upper James Street
Hamilton, ON L9B 1K8

Local 711
9950 Golf Boulevard
Montreal, QC H1J 2Y7

Local 765
30 Concourse Gate
Suite 101
Nepean, ON K2E 7V7

Local 771
1138 Dewdney Avenue East
Regina, SK S4N OE2

Saint John
Local 842
508 Main Street, Building B
Suite 214
Saint John, NB E2K 1J5

St. John’s
Local 764
Donovans Industrial Park
38 Sagona Avenue
Mt. Pearl, NL A1N 4R3

Local 786
97 St. George Street
Sudbury, ON P3C 2W7

Thunder Bay
Local 759
915 Alloy Drive
Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5Z8

Local 721
909 Kipling Avenue
Toronto, ON M8Z 5H3

Local 97
4055 1st Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5C 3W5

Local 700
RR 3
4069 County Road #46
Maidstone, ON N0R 1K0

Local 728
895A Century Street
Winnipeg, MB R3H 0M3

Construction associations

Canadian Construction Association

Alberta Construction Association

British Columbia Construction Association

Manitoba Heavy Construction Association

Construction Association of New Brunswick

Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Association

Northwest Territories Construction Association

Construction Association of Nova Scotia

Ontario General Contractors Association

Construction Association of Prince Edward Island

Association de la Construction du Québec

Saskatchewan Construction Association

Yukon Contractors Association
105B Platinum Road
Whitehorse, YT Y1A 5M3

Merit contractors associations

Merit Contractors Association of Alberta

Merit Contractors Association of Manitoba

Merit Contractors Association of Newfoundland and Labrador

Merit Contractors Association of Nova Scotia

Merit Contractors Association of Saskatchewan

Open Shop associations

Independent Contractors and Businesses Association
(British Columbia)

Open Shop Contractors Association

Christian Labour Association of Canada


Calgary Office
2333 18th Avenue NE
Suite 232
Calgary AB T2E 8T6

Edmonton Office
14920 118 Avenue
Edmonton AB T5V 1B8

Fort McMurray Office
8219 Fraser Avenue, Unit A
Fort McMurray, AB  T9H 0A2

British Columbia

Vancouver Office
19955 81A Avenue, Unit 100
Langley, BC  V2Y 0C7


Winnipeg Office
396 Assiniboine Avenue
Suite 2
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0Y1


Chatham Office
455 Keil Drive South
Chatham, ON N7M 6M4

Grimsby Office
89 South Service Road
P.O. Box 219
Grimsby, ON L3M 4G3

Mississauga Office
2335 Argentia Road
Mississauga, ON L5N 5N3

Ottawa Office
38 Antares Drive
Unit 100
Nepean, ON K2E 7V2

Aboriginal Human Resource Development Agreement holders

If you belong to a First Nation, there are also 80 Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) holders across Canada that are available to answer your questions about employment and direct you to the appropriate contact in the ironworking industry. Click here to find the ASETS representative closest to you.

Métis employment organizations

If you are Métis and are interested in contacting an employment counsellor or training centre, you can get in touch with your provincial Métis employment organization or department:

Métis Nation of Alberta – Employment and Training

Métis Provincial Council of British Columbia – Employment and Training

Manitoba Métis Federation – Human Resources, Development and Training

Métis Nation of Ontario – Training Initiatives

Métis Employment and Training of Saskatchewan

Hiring practices

Ironworking is project-based. If you’re signed up with a labour organization or open-shop association, you’ll be contacted when a job comes up. Contracts can last from one month to two years depending on the project. It’s important to maintain regular contact with your hiring organization; it will keep you top of mind and will lead to continued work opportunities.

On any ironworking project there are crew and supervisory roles.

Crew roles:

  • apprentice ironworker
  • journeyperson ironworker
  • ironworker welder

Supervisory roles:

  • ironworker foreman
  • general foreman
  • site supervisor

Hiring practices vary across Canada and among labour organizations and open-shop contractors.

  • Crew members and ironworker foremen can be hired through open-shop associations or labour organizations, or they can be hired directly by employers.
  • Most foremen and supervisors have a background in construction trades. Ironworker foremen have experience working as ironworkers, and are usually promoted to ironworker foreman after showing exceptional skill on the job.
  • General foremen and site supervisors can have a background in a number of different construction trades. They oversee many tradespeople on each construction site, and aren’t necessarily certified ironworkers.

For more information on specific occupations in the ironworking industry, check out Opportunities.

On-the-job safety

Safety is the number one priority in ironworking. Each province and territory in Canada has its own set of safety standards.

To find out about safety in the industry and your rights as an ironworker, contact one of the departments or organizations listed below:

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Workplace Health and Safety, Government of Alberta

Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta

Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia

Manitoba Labour and Immigration, Workplace Safety and Health Division

Workers’ Compensation Board of Manitoba

Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission, Government of New Brunswick

Occupational Health and Safety, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

Workers’ Compensation Board of Northwest Territories and Nunavut

Nova Scotia Labour and Workforce Development

Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia

Ontario Ministry of Labour

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario

Workers’ Compensation Board of Prince Edward Island

Workplace Health and Safety Commission of Quebec

Occupational Health and Safety, Government of Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board

Yukon Workers’ Compensation, Health and Safety Board

There are also provincial/territorial construction safety associations that provide safety training courses. Contact one of the associations listed below for more information:

Alberta Construction Safety Association

Construction Safety Association of British Columbia

Construction Safety Association of Ontario

Manitoba Construction Safety Association

New Brunswick Construction Safety Association

Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Safety Association

Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association

Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association