Recent Media

H2H Labour Day Support despite parade cancellation

H2H meets with Minister of Veterans Affairs

Due to covid restrictions the Sarnia, ON, the official Labour Day parade was cancelled but the building trades wanted to keep the 120 year tradition of labour going so they decided to gather at the workers monument looking over Chemical Valley. The workers monument is on the left.

Joe Maloney, H2H is holding the Support Our Troops flag on the right and next to him (R) is Ron Simon, Veteran, who joined the Boilermakers through H2H. The others are members from the Insulators and Boilermakers unions.

Joe Maloney would like to thank John Swart president of the Sarnia building trades council for keeping this 120 year record going. Very proud day.

Success in life after service: Drew Semper

H2H meets with Minister of Veterans Affairs

Moving from military avionics to electrical services in the private sector meant starting over again. Drew completed the intense, 12-week pre-apprenticeship training in November 2020, working toward his Red Seal, the provincially recognized designation as a qualified electrician. He is now a first-year apprentice working for Brymar Electric, which does wiring for commercial and residential construction projects in the Edmonton area.

For more information

H2H meets with Minister of Veterans Affairs

H2H meets with Minister of Veterans Affairs

From the Minister of Veterans Affairs Twitter ( @L_MacAulay): After more than 36 years in uniform, David Giannou is now working to help Veterans start careers in the skilled trades at @H2HCanada. Great to chat with him, and glad we’re supporting the work he’s doing through the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund.

For more information

Vandalism of Cenotaph soldier an insult to community

CARPENTERS’ LOCAL 27 — A crew of volunteers have been spending their Saturdays working on renovations to the MacKenzie Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion in Woodbridge, Ont.
The bronze soldier, known as “Tommy,” has adorned Sarnia’s Cenotaph since 1922. Sarnia Police photo

It was a stinging slap in the face to the memories of all who have answered Canada’s call to arms.

What’s more, it desecrated the sacrifice of Sarnia’s fallen soldiers, sailors and airmen whose names, in the hundreds, are recorded on the Cenotaph in Veterans Park.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley spoke of “sadness and outrage” after vandals pried the rifle off the First World War statue, known as “Tommy,” on April 6. The bronze soldier has stood sentinel over what Bradley called “this Hallowed ground” since 1922.

Royal Canadian Legion Vice President Les Jones, a former police officer and veteran of the First Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment, said it was “incomprehensible” someone could commit such a thoughtless crime against “an empty tomb honouring our brave men and women.”

When John Swart learned the metal gun had been stolen, however, he knew his members would spring into action. Swart, president of the Sarnia-Lambton Building Construction and Trades Council, said his members were appalled at the disrespect shown Canada’s war vets.

His 7,000-member Council is part of a national campaign known as ‘Helmets to Hardhats,’ which recruits veterans to construction apprentice trades once they’ve completed their service. So the desecration of Tommy hit a nerve. The members, who represent all construction trades from operating engineers to insulators and laborers, are raising money to cover the restoration cost.

Read more here

H2H Info Webinar for COATS & Cadets

CARPENTERS’ LOCAL 27 — A crew of volunteers have been spending their Saturdays working on renovations to the MacKenzie Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion in Woodbridge, Ont.

A Helmets to Hardhats Canada (H2H) information session has been scheduled for one week from today, June 9, 2021. Hosted by Normand Trépanier, a 37 year Veteran of the CAF and current Deputy Director of Helmets to Hardhats, and Paul Bury, a 33 year Veteran of the CAF and Director of Placements for Helmets to Hardhats, they will share information about the program, which matches the military community (including senior cadets) with skilled trades in the building & construction industry.

For more information (COATS & Volunteers / SAIOC & bénévoles Facebook)

Former military officer hired to help vets find construction work in region

The veterans support program Helmets to Hardhats Canada has received a federal grant to hire an Atlantic representative.

Dave Giannou, a retired lieutenant-commander in the navy, began his new position last week. He is working to help former military personnel in the region find new employment in the construction industry.

"We are a family, we always take care of our own so this is an opportunity for me to give back to the family," he said.

To read the rest of the story, click here

Letter from Deputy Minister VAC to H2H

To all Veterans, Families, Associations and Stakeholders,

Today, Government announced that my tour of duty as the Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada is coming to a close. My last day with the Department will be 24 May, when I will hang-up my spurs…again!

Over these past six and a half years, it has been a privilege to continue to serve those who served our nation. It was humbling to honour our fallen comrades and I was proud to make every effort to assist those in need.

All of us who wore the uniform of the CAF and RCMP made a choice to sign-up and each of us had a unique experience in uniform. There were good times and there were tough times. Tragically, some of our comrades in arms made the ultimate sacrifice for Canada. Some amongst us were wounded, some became ill or injured.

For some folks, the support from Veterans Affairs made a positive difference on the road to recovery and well-being. In other cases, the great staff at VAC will continue to provide support that reflects Care, Compassion and Respect. Our VAC employees are dedicated to their mission to support all of our Veterans and their families. Almost all have a link to a Veteran in their personal life and many are Veterans themselves. While they have a huge amount of empathy, some need to use all the tools at their disposal to gently nudge us on the road to wellness.

Thank you for your service in the Veterans’ community, for your enduring leadership, generosity and support to those in need. I have appreciated your insights, your determination to make a difference and your understanding. A small request: just as we learned on Basic Training, please continue to work together as a tight-knit team towards a common good for our Veterans.

It’s been great to serve with you again! May you be blessed with health and safety.


Walt Natynczyk

H2H hires Atlantic Rep with help from federal grant

Click on letter to enlarge

Helmets to Hardhats Canada is redoubling its commitment to Armed Forces veterans seeking skilled trades training and career opportunities in the Maritime provinces by appointing retired Lieutenant Commander David Giannou as its Atlantic Canada Transition Service Representative, effective May 10. He will be based out of Halifax.

Helmets to Hardhats — H2H for short — is a not-for-profit group that works in partnership with government, industry and trade unions to assist veterans (as well as their spouses and dependents, reservists, and senior cadets) in their transition to civilian careers in industry. Giannou will coordinate efforts between the Atlantic provinces’ building trades councils, employer associations, and the Canadian Armed Forces.

Giannou’s hiring comes as a direct result of a grant from the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund, an initiative of Veterans Affairs Canada that provides financial support to programs that have a positive and lasting impact on the veteran community.

Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay said the organization was deserving of the funding boost. “Helmets to Hardhats does exceptional work in support of our veterans every day. I know David will help veterans find rewarding new careers in the skilled trades across Atlantic Canada. I’m very proud that we’re able to provide them with support to make this possible through the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund.”

H2H Executive Director Joe Maloney welcomed the federal grant. “Canada faces an impending shortage of skilled tradespeople, and these brave men and women have just the skillsets necessary to succeed in the trades,” he said. “These folks need rewarding second careers, and industry needs dedicated workers. It’s a perfect fit, and a win-win situation for all stakeholders involved. Thanks to Veterans Affairs, we’re making this goal a reality.”

Giannou is a native Maritimer, born in Glace Bay, NS and raised in Corner Brook, NL. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy in 1982 through its Marine Engineering Technologist Program, and graduated in 1985 with two diplomas. He served for the next 16 years as a marine engineer on RCN ships and submarines, then spent a decade overseeing simulation training. This expertise led to his 2013 appointment to the Naval Engineering School. He recently retired after a distinguished 36-year career in the RCN.

“David brings with him a wealth of experience in training and engineering, and he’s a product of the Navy,” said Maloney. “I couldn’t be more pleased to have him heading up our efforts to forge new careers for Maritimers from our military.”

Boilermaker and Veteran saves a Life

CARPENTERS’ LOCAL 27 — A crew of volunteers have been spending their Saturdays working on renovations to the MacKenzie Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion in Woodbridge, Ont.
UA members/representatives and Dalas Santavy (front row, center) recognizing IBB’s Ron Simon (front row, left of center) and UA’s Cody Shephard (front row, right of center) for their actions.

Lodge 128 member Ron Simon is being heralded for his part in saving the life of a fellow tradesperson. Brother Simon stepped forward along with UA Local 663 member Cody Shephard to perform CPR on a UA member suffering a serious cardiac event.

With thanks to Ron, Cody, and Shell’s emergency response this fortunate individual is recovering in hospital.

To read the rest of the story, click here

MacKenzie Legion branch gets facelift from dedicated trades volunteers

CARPENTERS’ LOCAL 27 — A crew of volunteers have been spending their Saturdays working on renovations to the MacKenzie Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion in Woodbridge, Ont.
CARPENTERS’ LOCAL 27 — A crew of volunteers have been spending their Saturdays working on renovations to the MacKenzie Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion in Woodbridge, Ont.

For just about the duration of the pandemic, Mike Humphries and a volunteer crew have been spending many of their Saturdays on renovations to the MacKenzie Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion in Woodbridge, Ont.

“It’s one of our older Legions that needs a little bit of a facelift and I wanted to do something to help them out,” says Humphries, a business representative of Carpenters’ Local 27 and the union’s liaison for the Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) program.

To read the rest of the story, click here

Canadian military veteran praises H2H efforts for enduring pandemic challenges

Sean Massinen, who had 14 years of experience in the military, wanted to launch a new career in carpentry and start thinking about planning a family one day. Helmets to Hardhats Canada helped place the veteran in a trade apprenticeship in Ontario..
Sean Massinen, who had 14 years of experience in the military, wanted to launch a new career in carpentry and start thinking about planning a family one day. Helmets to Hardhats Canada helped place the veteran in a trade apprenticeship in Ontario.

The pandemic has “slowed” the drive by Helmets to Hardhats Canada (H2H) to place Canadian Armed Forces veterans in unionized construction trades, but H2H still managed to refer 30 veterans for possible placement in trade apprenticeships across Canada in February.

Five veterans started placements that month, one of them in B.C. and four in Ontario.

Among those vets was Sean Massinen who had 14 years of experience in the military but wanted to launch a new career and start thinking about planning a family one day.

Joe Maloney, national executive director of H2H, says the pandemic put a stop to a number of H2H duties including its cross-country information seminars on the program. “We had to rely on word of mouth and social media campaigns.”

He says as the weather warms and construction ramps up, H2H organizers expect to see a lot more veteran placements in trade positions.

To read the rest of the story, click here

Fanshawe’s military-connected students to benefit from new partnership with Helmets to Hardhats

(London, Ontario) – Fanshawe College is proud to announce a new partnership with Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) that will provide the College’s military-connected students with pathways into Canada’s skilled trade industry. H2H is a registered non-profit organization dedicated to assisting veterans who are transitioning from military service into well-paid, highly-skilled second careers in construction and related industries.

As a military-connected College, Fanshawe and H2H will work together to support our veterans, reservists and cadets by providing valuable job opportunities to help rebuild Ontario’s economy through the skilled trades and apprenticeship sectors. H2H has strategic partnerships with national trade unions, providing additional networking opportunities for Fanshawe military-connected students upon graduation.

Fanshawe is the first College in Canada to partner with Helmets to Hardhats. Military-connected graduates will have the opportunity to use the services of H2H to seek skilled trades jobs across Canada.

“Fanshawe College is excited to collaborate with Helmets to Hardhats to create employment opportunities for our military-connected students who will graduate ready to contribute to the economic recovery of their community,” says Darlene O’Neill, Director, Employment and Student Entrepreneurial Services, Fanshawe College.

“Helmets to Hardhats looks forward to supporting military veterans, reservists and cadets, supporting the economy and growing the skilled construction trades with military-connected students through our partnership with Fanshawe College,” says Joseph Maloney, Executive Director, Helmets to Hardhats.

This partnership expands Fanshawe’s network of viable employers for our students and will help employers find the best job candidates.

More info here Fanshawe's Military-connected campus

United Association Local 663 hires Veterans

A local union that’s part of a movement to help military veterans successfully transition into civilian life, is urging other local building trades to join the effort.

Local 663, representing plumbers, steamfitters and welders, is one of several in Canada’s construction industry backing Helmets to Hard Hats, a program that helps veterans find work in the trades.

Ross Tius, business manger for Local 663, said it has already approved six candidates from the program for entry into the union, and he’s challenging other building trades to do the same. “Given the sacrifice they’ve gone through, we owe them some form of respect and allegiance,” Tius said. “I think it’s the right thing to do.” More info here about UA 663

Millwrights Local 2309 design entry program specifically for Veterans

Fantastic news!!! Millwrights 2309 Toronto have designed a 4 week trg specifically for Veterans ! UBC Millwright Local 2309’s Veterans Program (MVP) is a free 4 week training program specially designed for veterans who want to embark on a new career offering exceptional pay and benefits. More info about Local 2309

Holiday Message from Helmets to Hardhats

Latest Veteran graduates of Electrical Training

Congratulations to new members of the #skilledtrades Drew (Andrew) Semper and Ryan Pasuta, recent graduates of the PACT Program through the Electrical Industry Trg Centre IBEW 424! They start on site this week, share and welcome them to the #tradeunion family!

The Electrical Industry Training Centres of Alberta is an initiative of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 424 and the Electrical Contractors Association of Alberta (ECAA).

Check out their website for more info about the training centre.

Veterans Walk Fundraiser

Congratulations and gratitude to Veterans Glen Coyle and Christian Bagley, both former RCR and representing Canada House, on their latest fundraising campaign in support of Helmets to Hardhats! Presentation with Normand Trépanier (H2H) at Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto during Remembrance Week 2020. The two former soldiers walked 150 km to raise $$$ to support soldiers transitioning to careers in the building trades through Helmets to Hardhats.

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Ontario Helping Veterans Find New Careers

The Ontario government is investing $511,100 in the Pathways to Post-Military Employment program to support the return of 180 military veterans and reservists to civilian life. This program, administered by non-profit organization Helmets to Hardhats Canada, will help veterans draw upon their unique skills and experience and connect them with good jobs in the construction industry.

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, at Interior Finishing Systems Training Centre in Woodbridge.

“During Remembrance Week, we pause to salute the men and women in uniform who left their families to defend our country and protect the values we hold dear," said Premier Ford. "Today, many veterans are struggling as they leave active service and transition back into civilian life. Now is the time to help them train for new well-paying and rewarding second careers and give them a chance to contribute to Ontario's economic recovery.”

Pathways to Post-Military Employment will offer job matching with employers in the construction sector, provide formal skills evaluations and support on-the-job training. This program will provide opportunities for veterans and reservists in several fields, including skilled trades, management, administration, planning, scheduling, logistics, security, engineering, and accounting.

Read the full News Release here.

OCS donates $100,000 to help provide opportunities in the trades for veterans.

On behalf of building trade construction unions and contractor partners, the Ontario Construction Secretariat donated $100,000 to assist Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) aid in streamlining the pathways to apprenticeships, advanced training and career placement opportunities in the construction industry for the men and women who have served our country. Helmets to Hardhats is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to assisting veterans who are transitioning from military service, and active reservists, into second careers in the skilled trades.

“Veterans, reservists and senior cadets are an invaluable asset to the skilled trades and we are delighted to be able to donate $100,000 on behalf of building trade construction unions and their contractor partners working in the industrial, commercial, and institutional sector,” Joe Keyes, OCS President of the Board of Directors, says. “The Helmets to Hardhats organization is providing opportunities to military men and women who served Canada with distinction as they transition to civilian life,” he continues.

Brent Dewell, Carpenters Local 27, is just one example of how H2H has helped our veterans. Mr. Dewell is a Field Engineer in the Canadian Military and has always been interested in carpentry but never knew how to approach it. He decided to call a union representative from Local 27, who was also a veteran, and explained to him how his skills would transfer into the trades. Mr. Dewell was quickly put in touch with H2H and has been working as a carpentry apprentice, since April, with a schedule that allows him time to spend with his family and make a great income.

Read the full news release here.

H2H partners with VETS Canada to help homeless Veterans

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Helmets to Hardhats is pleased to announce a new strategic partnership with Veterans Emergency Transition Services (VETS Canada) that will result in improved conditions for at risk and homeless Veterans.  H2H will work with Veterans identified by VETS Canada to facilitate opportunities to transition into well-paid, highly skilled careers in the construction and related industries.

“H2H is looking forward to this very positive partnership with the intent of helping some very worthy people, added Joe Maloney, National Executive Director of Helmets to Hardhats Canada. “We want to make sure that any and all Veterans are aware of what is available through Helmets to Hardhats and no Veteran is left behind.”

Helmets to Hardhats Canada is a registered not for profit organization providing opportunities in the building trades for serving, transitioning and former military.

VETS Canada, a national charity and service provider of Veterans Affairs Canada, is the largest 24/7 Canadian organization dedicated to addressing the emergency needs of homeless and in-crisis Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP.

H2H Director interview with Andrew Krystal, SiriusXM Talk 167

Listen as Joe Maloney, Executive Director, Helmets to Hardhats, and Mike Yorke, President, Carpenters District Council of Ontario, are interviewed by Andrew Krystal about the homeless Veteran crisis and the immediate response and support from H2H and the trade unions, and the difficulties of supporting Veterans with a small, but dedicated staff of Veterans.

You can listen to the interview here

Letter from Homeless Shelter Director supporting Veterans

“Good Shepherd Ministries has been providing housing help and case management for homeless Veterans for the past 10 years,” say Br. David Lynch, Executive Director. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to expand those services. Now, not only can we offer a warm bed, hot meals and housing, but in partnership with Helmets to Hardhats, we can assist Veterans in learning trade skills to get back into the workforce.

Homeless Veterans have served their country. It is our duty to ensure that they receive the services needed to assist them in gaining freedom from homelessness. It is our duty to offer them support and encouragement so they can live full and productive lives. Thanks to Helmets to Hardhats, this goal will be achievable.”


Brother David Lynch, OH Executive Director, Good Shepherd Ministries

Visit the Good Shepherd Ministries site.

Reservist turned carpenter hands in the tools to help at LTC home

When carpenter and active military reservist Dimitrij Berdnikov was asked by the Canadian Armed Forces to volunteer in the military’s initiative Operation LASER to assist in a troubled long-term care home during the pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area, the 28-year-old was quick to sign up.

Berdnikov is a member of Carpenters’ Local 27 in Toronto.

In 2016, after four years in the military reserves, he was looking at career options and the building trades was on his list.

Through the Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) program, he met carpenter Mike Humphries, a Local 27 business representative and its liaison to the H2H.

“I didn’t know anything about carpentry at the time but thought I’d give it a try and I have liked it ever since,” says Berdnikov.

You can read the full article from the Daily Commercial News

Important Message from Helmets to Hardhats

Hi Everyone,

What an adventure we are all living since March 14. I would like to thank you for following the public health guidelines in your province. Although we are confined to our home, I would like to inform you that Helmets to Hardhats remains in operation and continues to take your registrations. As soon as the construction industries will resume we want you to be in the front row for taking advantages of the benefits that Helmets to Hardhats offers to their members. We are proud to have more than 6,900 registered members and to have placed more than 1,100 members with the Canadian building trade industry.

We are waiting for you.
Your Helmets to Hardhats’ team.

Letter from Helmets to Hardhats to The National Post

"Skilled labour isn’t cheap, and cheap labour isn’t skilled"

Letters to the Editor
The National Post
365 Bloor St. East, 3rd Floor Toronto, Ontario M4W 3L4
To the Editor:
Re: “Let the markets handle the skilled-trades labour shortage” (Jan. 24) I must take issue with the author’s criticism of the Ontario government’s active promotion of skilled trades apprenticeships for young people. We are indeed facing a shortage of skilled tradespeople, as baby boomers — well trained and well paid — are retiring from industry. Leaving aside Mr Lau’s inapt and cynical comparison of skilled workers to oranges and pears, it seems he would “just...let the markets work,” and have them replaced by unapprenticed, semi-skilled, low-paid workers, in another example of the “race to the bottom” in both skills and wages. My organization assists armed forces veterans in transitioning into the skilled trades. We have no intention of sending these people into inadequately trained jobs where they can be exploited by employers favouring cheap labour over fully qualified workers. Our veterans deserve a better future, and so do our youth. Labour Minister Monte McNaughton should be applauded for encouraging young people to enter the skilled trades through proper apprenticeships. Engaging skilled workers in industry requires regulation, certification, intensive training, and licensing. It requires a tripartite partnership of government, organized labour, and industry, for the sake of safety, quality, and fair compensation. Reaching out to youth, who may otherwise be unfamiliar with apprenticeship opportunities — and the “fruit”-ful jobs they promise — is a good move by this government. Skilled labour isn’t cheap, and cheap labour isn’t skilled.
Joseph Maloney, M.S.C.
National Executive Director,
Helmets to Hardhats Canada

Pdf letter available here

Local 359 Visit

H2H Paul Bury, CD, tours the Boilermakers Local 359 welding shop in Langley, BC. Are you military, Veteran, Reservist looking to join top trade unions in Canada? Register today!

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Local 359 Visit

Helmets to Hardhats Normand T and Paul B meet with Local 359 Business Manager (middle) Jordan Streng. Boilermakers always ready to #supportourtroops with great careers!

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