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OCOT opponents take to Queen’s Park

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Ontario tradespeople and employers took their fight against the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) to Queen’s Park recently, saying it will cost them millions of dollars in new annual fees.

TORONTO

Ontario tradespeople and employers took their fight against the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) to Queen’s Park recently, saying it will cost them millions of dollars in new annual fees.

“It’s outrageous to force hardworking tradespeople to pay a new multi-million dollar trades tax that supports big salaries and a new bureaucracy, but provides no benefit for tradespeople or consumers,” said Sean Reid, chair of the Stop the Trades Tax campaign.

They were at Queen’s Park, supporting MPP Garfield Dunlop’s Opposition Day motion that calls on the government to abolish OCOT, on April 8, the same day OCOT began accepting registration.

“I call on all parties to abolish the McGuinty-Wynne Liberal College of Trades. This is a another boondoggle which is now collecting millions of dollars in new fees on the backs of hard working tradespeople, that has no clear benefit apart from paying for its own bureaucracy,” said Dunlop, the Progressive Conservative critic for skilled trades and apprenticeship reform.

OCOT fees range from $60 to $120 per year. OCOT officials say it is currently training enforcement officers and it will roll out a plan to promote the skilled trades as a career this year.

Those in the 22 Ontario compulsory trades will have to become members of the college and a worker in a voluntary trade will have to be an OCOT member to keep his or her Certificate of Qualification current.

Since its inception as a grassroots organization of construction employers in September 2011, the Stop the Trades Tax campaign has grown to 31 organizations whose members represent over 130,000 skilled tradespeople and over 8,000 businesses across Ontario. To date, the petition to Stop The Trades Tax has over 6,600 signatures.

Follow @DCN_Canada on Twitter for more construction news and videos. Search “OCOT’ on www.dcnonl.com for our archive of OCOT coverage.

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