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BREAKING: Ontario government intends to “wind down” College of Trades

DCN News Services
BREAKING: Ontario government intends to “wind down” College of Trades

TORONTO — The Ontario government intends to “wind down” the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) as “persistent challenges” have become apparent in how the skilled trades in Ontario are regulated, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Merrilee Fullerton stated during an announcement in Scarborough, Ont. Tuesday.

Hurdles have continued to present themselves with College membership fees that apprentices and journeypersons are subject to, a release from the province states, along with the “complexity of the rules apprentices, journeypersons and employers are bound by.”

The proposed reforms are part of the province’s larger Making Ontario Open for Business Act, which, if passed, means the government would “support an orderly transition and ensure continuity of services to employers, workers and apprentices” for the College.

The minister would take charge and control of the College’s board of governors and appoint an administrator to act on her behalf.

“The government intends to develop a replacement model for the regulation of the skilled trades and apprenticeship system in Ontario by early 2019,” the release reads.

It should be noted, the Ministry of Labour will continue to enforce the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

During the announcement, a number of other reforms to the skilled trades system in Ontario were also announced.

Fullerton said since one in five jobs in the next five years will be trades related, numerous changes need to be made when it comes to apprentices and employers.

“The current Ontario apprenticeship system is broken,” she told attendees at Leland Industries Inc., where the event took place, adding the current ratios being implemented and the trade classification system is outdated.

As such, the province is proposing to set all journeyperson to apprentice ratios at one-to-one.

“Ontario’s journeyperson to apprentice ratios likely contribute to the higher costs seen in the construction sector,” the release states. “Setting a single, lower ratio would better align Ontario with other provinces and territories in Canada.”

A moratorium on trade classifications and reclassifications is also being proposed, as the process is

“currently overly burdensome and can affect decisions to hire new staff, as well as companies’ ability to compete in the global marketplace.”

There are currently 133 voluntary and 23 compulsory trades in the province.

The Daily Commercial News will have industry reaction in an upcoming article to this developing story. Keep checking dcnonl.com for more updates.

Recent Comments (7 comments)

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Benni Stegner Image Benni Stegner

It is a shame that our new provincial government is closing The College of Trades where actual trade workers were involved in managing how the apprenticeship act/legislation, including College and on-the-job training was administered. Now we regress where administrators and academics, that never worked on a job site or factory, yet alone know what the right screwdriver is for the job, will rule the future. Do we want a handyman without skills building our homes, factories and schools because there is a trades shortage in Ontario ?

Kevin Bourne Image Kevin Bourne

Nice to see unbridled anti-labour thinking at work. I am a journeyman electrician, if this goes through I will never train another apprentice. The College of Trades was nothing but a scam from its inception, now we see the real agenda. Why doesn’t he just cut to the chase and bring back slavery… oh geez, I guess that is the real goal here – thanks master.

Martine Image Martine

When they when to the College of Trades, licenses quadrupled in prices. They are not enforcing the licenses, go to downtown Toronto, there’s lots of people without licenses.

stephen best Image stephen best

Good idea, in 10 years later we will be hip deep in unemployed tradesmen.

John O'Hearn Image John O'Hearn

Being a tradesperson I would like to comment on proposed changes to the apprenticeship act. In particular the ratio change. At present levels, 3 to 1, it’s manageable to always keep an apprentice properly supervised. At 1 to 1 I can see where apprentices would be left alone far too often for safety sake as well as quality of work standards.
You are being told that ratio change is to lower costs to the consumer. Don’t be fooled, it’s to lower costs all right but to increase profits. Consumers will not see any of it. I speak from experience as I witnessed how my son served his apprenticeship with a company that consistently sent him out to work sites by himself. They billed him as a journeyman but paid him a need fraction of what they earned. The stories he told me made me boil, we are both electricians so I knew the quality of work they were having him do was incredibly substandard. Then there was the day he was almost killed in a building, all by himself, lucky for him it turned into an afternoon of having his heart monitored in the hospital and some stitches to his head was the only result. But it could have killed him. Ask yourselves this, would you like your children to serve apprenticeship in this manner? Change the ratios and this is what is going to happen. One more point. There is not that much work out there, so for every cheap apprentice that you bring in, it means one higher paid journeyman will be sent home. What will that do to the economy? Who’s gonna buy houses and cars? Will apprentices still have a job after completing their term?
Think about it..compare this move to what banks keep doing to help all of us out. Maybe we should adapt this to certifying doctors.
John O’Hearn

Sandy Ingram Image Sandy Ingram

We need only to look to the trades and how they are managed in Scotland, England, Germany and Holland. They produce well trained knowledgeable trades people. Why pay a bunch people to make up a new system when we have model that has been working for hundreds of years. Do not rewrite the book just ensure that the rules are being followed by all the stake holders.

Dave Jensen Image Dave Jensen

The reason for having a 3 to 1 ratio of journeyman to apprentice is to better educate the apprentice. The ratio is company wide so there usually is a 1 to1 ratio on the job site itself. With a reduction it will mean that a lot of jobs will be staffed with mostly apprentices. The law states that an apprentice cannot work by themselves, even a fifth year. If anyone is hurt, the foreman takes the fall if they were alone. An increase in insurance will have to be born and passed on to the consumer. Working with people who were trained in the one to one province of Alberta I can tell you they lack the proper experience. The rules were put there for a reason. If the fear is that we won’t be able to man the jobs in the future then don’t reduce the laws, training and pay by flooding the market. The result will only be a further reduction in the amount of people wanting a physical outside job.

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