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Government, Labour

New Skilled Trades Ontario to replace College of Trades

Don Wall
New Skilled Trades Ontario to replace College of Trades
SCREENSHOT — Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton said today the government would move swiftly to enact the Skilled Trades Act.

The Ontario government today announced a new Crown agency to be known as Skilled Trades Ontario to replace the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT). 

Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton said the government would move swiftly with the Skilled Trades Act, implementing a new system that would be more efficient and easier to navigate. 

“I think we’ve built an overwhelming consensus within the industry,” said McNaughton. “I can tell you my team and I’ve worked really, really hard on them to get it right.” 

McNaughton said he was implementing the first phase of recommendations of an advisory committee, the Skilled Trades Panelthat includes Michael Sherrard as chair and industry representatives Jason Ottey, Melanie Winter, Shaun Scott and Melissa Young.  

The new Skilled Trades Ontario will be one streamlined destination, the minister said, with tradespeople obtaining their certification from the agency. 

Skilled Trades Ontario will take input from the industry and will be responsible for the promotion, research and development of new apprenticeship training and curriculum standards, the minister said. It will provide a simplified pathway for apprentice registration, issuance of certificates and renewals and equivalency assessments. 

The government announced it was winding down OCOT in October 2018. The Skilled Trades Panel was appointed to recommend its replacement last year. 

“This is an exciting day for the skilled trades in Ontario,” said McNaughton. “We have a looming crisis with one in three journeypersons over the age of 55 today, and the average age of an apprentice is 30. That’s challenging as a province.  

“This crisis has to be dealt with. Everything that I’m doing as minister and what we’re all doing, I believe, collectively, as a province, is to ensure that we’re ending the stigma around the trades to get more young people to see these careers as meaningful.” 

A statement released by the ministry included endorsements from Stephen Hamilton, chair of the Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance; Joseph Mancinelli, LIUNA international vice-president; Patrick Dillon, business manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario; James St. John, business manager of the Central Ontario Building Trades; James Barry, executive secretary treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Construction Council of Ontario; Mike Gallardo, president and CEO of Merit Ontario; and Joe Vaccaro CEO of the Ontario Home Builders Association. 

The Skilled Trades Panel is currently consulting on the second phase of its mandate, which will focus on classification and training in the trades.  

Watch for industry reaction and analysis coming soon. 


Follow the author on Twitter @DonWall_DCN.

Recent Comments (3 comments)

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Benni Image Benni

It took the Province almost four years to apply a bandaid that will cost taxpayers massive dollars. A four person panel has taken nine months with stage one of a Mickey Mouse plan that is a very poor replacement for OCOT, all Skilled Trades used to have a voice through input to Trades Boards with OCOT, we have lost massive Democracy. Doug Ford will soon lose office and another political party can mothball Skilled Trades Ontario as right now the timing smells of a election tool. Like really four years Doug to wake up !

Ben Stegner Image Ben Stegner

Missing Eight Million Dollars !
When our Province closed OCOT almost four years ago there was eight million dollars in the bank account (it was on the OCOT annual report).
The money came from Trades Workers annual membership fees, from the pocket, Not tax dollars.
Like wheres the money that should go back to OCOT Members.
Geee we are missing huge dollars, where it go Doug ?

Ben Stegner Image Ben Stegner

Where did the eight million dollars go when the Province closed OCOT almost four years ago ? that money came from Trades Workers annual OCOT membership dues. The legislation stated that to be allowed to work in Ontario as a certified trades worker the membership must be paid or there will be actions taken.


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