Ontario College of Trades report recommendations accepted by minister

OCOT-Dean-Report-apprentice-journeyperson-ratio-compulsory-trade-classification-government-Ontario-training-colleges-universities-Condo.ca

Ontario’s somewhat controversial College of Trades was only established in 2013, but by 2014 the government realized it had to do something to make the College more open and transparent, and more acceptable to the trades in Ontario. The Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities asked Tony Dean, a former Secretary of Cabinet, to investigate and produce a report. That report is now complete and today the minister issued a statement accepting the thirty-one recommendations contained in it.

Several of those recommendations relate to the way the various trades are defined for purposes of training and classification. The Scopes of Practice (SoP), as they are called, define 156 different trades, though some of them are no longer “operable.” In many cases, there is overlap between one or more of the defined trades. An open, comprehensive review of the SoPs should be undertaken, Dean recommends. The review should be industry driven and should resolve issues of overlapping practice.

Another important issue Dean examined is the classification of compulsory and voluntary trades, an area that has been “episodic, contentious and mostly opaque” for many years. Indeed, many of the criteria used to define compulsory trades date back decades. Compulsory trades are those for which the tradesperson must have a certain level of education and certification, such as electricians and plumbers. Ontario currently has twenty-two compulsory trades, while Saskatchewan has just five. British Columbia is moving towards abolishing compulsory trades altogether.

According to Dean, the risk of harm is the issue he heard most about in his consultations about compulsory classification. Every group and individual he heard from said that the safety of both the tradesperson and the public should be paramount in determining whether a trade is classified as compulsory. This speaks to the issue of enforcement, which Dean agrees is a critical function of the College. The College is right to prevent unlicensed workers from practising compulsory trades, especially in high-risk activities. He recommends a policy-based approach to enforcement, with a compliance and enforcement committee set up to inform this policy.

OCOT-Dean-Report-apprentice-journeyperson-ratio-compulsory-trade-classification-government-Ontario-training-colleges-universities-EDIWeekly
Journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios have been problematic in Ontario, good for safety and work quality say supporters, bad for smaller employers say opponents.

Perhaps even more contentious is the issue of the journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio. This is a formula that determines how many apprentices can be hired by a company, based on how many journeypersons the company has. Those who favour the use of a ratio see it as helping to ensure that there are enough journeypersons on board to provide effective, safe training for the apprentices and ensure that the quality of work is not diminished. Those against the ratio system see it as an artificial barrier to hiring, especially for smaller companies.

The Dean Report recommends that the College should review the ratio system and consider establishing new criteria, including the potential for risk of harm, and the impact that changes would have on training and the performance of the trade.

In his consultations with various stakeholders, Dean found that there was widespread dissatisfaction with the way the College communicates with its members. Many, including some who support the College, believe it does not do enough to communicate the advantages of its mandate and the work it does for members. There are currently 237,000 active members in the Ontario College of Trades.

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • BMW unveils i3, the electric car of the future
  • Calgary tech company says radio frequency oil extraction tests were successful
  • Researchers Test Feasibility of EmDrive and Mach Effect Thrusters
  • Financial services fastest growing industry in Canada for exports: Conference Board of Canada
  • Bombardier has to delay CSeries first test flight again
  • Strong manufacturing rebound in February led by energy sector
  • Economy grew fastest in north, west in 2012: Statistics Canada
  • Ontario responds to lower business taxes in the U.S. with "tax relief" for manufacturers
  • Mobile Office Pod Engineered in Nissan Van for Remote Workers
  • US could be free of non-North American oil by 2020
  • Ontario Local Food Bill hailed by farm/food groups
  • Lower Model 3 prices can't prevent Tesla's slide by 3% after deliveries fail to impress; Tesla opens orders to Europe and China
  • Transportation workers urge quick response to Lac-Megantic report
  • Canadian Solar to build London plant with Samsung
  • Energy storage system uses rail cars, gravity to mimic hydro
  • Alberta's oil and gas rebounds - must contend with shortage of workers
  • Toronto company seeking to market energy storage system
  • Final testing of Bombardier's C Series to begin
  • One sweet ride: a biodegradable auto made of sugar beets and flax — but what about mice?
  • More consultation, less domestic content for Ontario's green energy process
Scroll to Top