Trades against OCOT changes
By Andrew Macklin
November 24, 2015 – Ontario’s certified construction trades are united in their concern at the government’s decision to move hastily in implementing recommendations contained in a review of the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) prepared by Tony Dean for Training, Colleges and University Minister, Reza Moridi.
“The fact that the government would move unilaterally without discussing the recommendations with stakeholders is troubling considering how wide ranging Dean’s proposed recommendations are,” said James Hogarth, business manager from the Ontario Pipe Trades Council.
The Ontario College of Trades is a professional regulatory body that protects the public by regulating and promoting the skilled trades. One of OCOT’s main responsibilities is to ensure that individuals performing the skills of certified trades have the training and certification required to legally practice this trade in Ontario.
“Dean’s recommendations have far reaching impacts on worker and public safety,” said Tim Fenton, business manager of the Ontario Sheet Metal Workers Conference. “In the government’s rush they are pushing changes without understanding how these changes will affect the trades.”
The College of Trades is designed to act as a self-regulating body mandated to oversee and modernize skilled trades in Ontario, while protecting the public interest. Ontario’s construction trades supported the creation of the OCOT, since it would lead to better consumer protection and promotion of the skilled trades.
“The concept of the college is right but Dean’s report is offside with the core idea of a self-governing and regulatory body. The fact that the government is blindly following these recommendations is troubling,” said Mike Gallagher, business manager, International Union of Operating Engineers.
“The government’s decision to not hold any consultation on this report is a slap in the face to stakeholders,” said John Grimshaw, executive secretary treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Worker Construction Council of Ontario. “This is a departure from the normal course of action for a government that trumpets consultation.”
The compulsory and non-compulsory construction trades represents over 100,000 workers across Ontario.