Here's my perspective from neighboring Ontario.. Starting with a 5 month gas tech program (on the tail end of it) that will leave me with a licence I can perform work with, cost was about 5K, plus the basic tools (another 1K), plus the reduced earnings on part-time hours on my day job (another 10K).. Because the scope of the licence is pretty decent and it doesn't take a lot to get it, most shops won't hire you without it. The good thing about it is that it involves a couple of months of experience in an actual shop. Many guys get hired by the place they interned in and having worked for a shop at least for a couple of months will make it easier for another shop to take you on (as long as you account yourself as a hard worker with at least a bit of learning ability, zero whining, being good with customers is a big plus). I'm still trying to learn the ins and outs of the local union more because they offer the best training in the industry but the downside is that the wait for the old hands to retire so you can move up and do meaningful work might be a little long (3 years and counting in one case) which might put you at a disadvantage during the mandatory school sessions.