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Inc., where the event took place, adding the current ratios being implemented and the trade classification system is outdated.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.