Ontario construction employers call on next provincial government to immediately overhaul or abolish Ontario College of Trades

A broad coalition of small, medium, and large construction employers across Ontario is calling on the next provincial government to take immediate action to either overhaul or abolish the Ontario College of Trades. The call comes in response to a major study of the College completed by Hamilton, Ont.-based think tank Cardus.

Created by the Government of Ontario in October 2009 with a mandate to modernize the skilled trades in Ontario, the College of Trades has been designed to be an ineffective, biased and potentially costly waste of taxpayer’s money, according to findings from the study.

“The Ontario College of Trades must not move forward in its current form,” said Sean Reid, of the PCAC and Co-Spokesperson for the Coalition. “The next provincial government must act fast to either overhaul or abolish the College of Trades and engage in a collaborative, open and transparent process with all stakeholders in the sector to address the serious issues affecting skilled trades in Ontario.”

As outlined in Cardus’s review, College of Trades: An Impossible Institution, the Ontario College of Trades has four key design flaws:

  1. The College was founded on the premise that a self-regulating body would solve the very real issues in Ontario’s skilled trades sector with no research-based evidence to support this claim;
  2. The College is poised to become a massive bureaucracy to support 157 trades in Ontario with a significant financial cost which will ultimately be funded by Ontario taxpayers, businesses and skilled trades people;
  3. The College’s governance structure is dominated by representatives of compulsory certified trades in Ontario, to the detriment of uncertified trades which form the majority of skilled trades people in the province;
  4. The College’s role is redundant as skilled trades people in Ontario are already well regulated by other regulatory bodies.

“This province is in the midst of a fragile economic recovery with the skilled trades playing a critical role in supporting our economy,” noted Jason Ottey of RESCON and Coalition co-spokesperson.  “The last thing Ontario’s employers and skilled trades people need is an ineffective, unfair and expensive College of Trades that will do nothing to help us address the critical issues facing our sector, including a projected shortage of 360,000 skilled trades people by 2025.”

As Cardus notes in the conclusion of its review “All of the issues presented in our review of the College…. suggest that the College of Trades is an impossible and unnecessary institution.”

The coalition of construction employers calling on the next provincial government to immediately overhaul or abolish the College of Trades includes:

  • HCAT – Heavy Construction Association of Toronto
  • Merit Ontario
  • OEL – Ontario Electrical League
  • OGCA – Ontario General Contractors Association
  • ORBA  – Ontario Road Builders’ Association
  • OSWCA – Ontario Sewer & Watermain Contractors Association
  • PCAC – Progressive Contractors Association of Canada
  • RESCON – Residential Construction Council of Ontario

A complete copy of the Cardus review can be found at: www.cardus.ca/research/workandeconomics/publications

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