When I came back to here from NB I got into a residential shop. I mainly went on resi split installs because of my fridgie schooling. It paid the bills and kept me in the industry. But the problem was that there was only one guy who worked in the sales department who had a Red Seal. I was pushing to get him to take me on as an apprentice but then the G2 guy I was riding with wanted to get his. Naturally he took him on since he had senority and was told when he gets his Red Seal, ill get my chance. You can get a G2 for $2000 and a few months of night school. At that point in my life I had a one year pre-trade program and was a licensed apprentice in NB that had passed the Provincial block one exam (10 month $12000 investment).
In Ontario they do have whats called the 313D. Its a 2 and a half year residential apprenticeship (you're allowed to service systems up to 5 tons). I talked to a friend of mine from when I worked there and they're now trying to get the guys there at least that. I don't think they will be able to put out 313A's though (313A is a play on 7313 which is the NOC for our trade). 313D is a Provincial only trade where as 313A is the Ontario name for the Red Seal (anything and all).
The shops where Moon and I live CAN hire guys as helpers and labour. They can also work these guys without putting hours towards any kind of apprenticeship. They are just "gas fitters."
This is why the Union was great. I was able to transfer over my training and pick up where I left off. Fortunately for me as well, I did it at the right time. Apparently now they are not letting apprentices transfer over from any Province anymore. They all have to start out at basic. Or so I heard this week. Then again the rumor mill is always working around here.