Ontario supports skilled trades

Photo © BigStockPhoto/Goodluz
The new focus around trades will support apprenticeships in Ontario.
Photo © BigStockPhoto/Goodluz

The Ontario provincial government is dedicating support to the industry-driven governing body in charge of promoting and modernizing skilled trades.

The partnership between the province and Ontario College of Trades has recognized the recommendations of Tony Dean, the former secretary of cabinet, in his report, “Supporting a Strong and Sustainable Ontario College of Trades.” The spring legislative session will introduce Ontario’s proposed legislative changes, and the province will work with the College of Trades to implement Dean’s recommendations.

If these recommendations are implemented, the provincial government says they would help improve the college’s processes and clarify its mandate by:

  • assisting existing trade boards to update and bring consistency to all its scopes of practice;
  • reviewing the classification of trades through the establishment of an independent, evidence-based process that will use ‘risk of harm’ as a key criterion;
  • establishing clear and concise criteria on how journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios are determined; and
  • developing an enforcement and compliance committee and appeal process to resolve potential conflicts earlier, and to ensure enforcement is consistently carried out with safety and public interest in mind.

A year-long review, including consultations with hundreds of tradespeople, employers, and industry and trade boards, informed the report. More than 70 trades were represented among these consultations.

The province’s dedication to supporting skilled trades is part of the government’s plan to strengthen Ontario. More than $176 million will be invested by the province in 2015/2016 in support of apprenticeships.

The Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance (OSKTA), which represents 45 ’employer’ members employing over 100,000 skilled tradespeople across the province, called the report a good first step in modernizing trade scopes of practice, enforcement and compulsory certification, and ratio reviews.

“We appreciate that the Dean Report recognizes that employers are partners in closing the skills gap. OSTA
has always believed that through partnership, Ontario can be a leader in skilled training outcomes in North
America. Ontario is investing over $170 million to support apprenticeships this year and employers want to
make sure that investment is building the next generation of tradespeople,” said OSTA chair Joe Vaccaro.

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