Government Announces Independent Review of Ontario College of Trades

Oct. 24, 2014 – In early September the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Essential Skills Ontario released the report, Moving Forward Together. The report called on the Government of Ontario to ensure that upcoming changes to the province’s training and employment programs reflect the needs of employers.

On October 23rd the Government of Ontario announced the appointment of Tony Dean, former Secretary of Cabinet and Head of Ontario Public Service, to lead an independent review of the Ontario College of Trades and other key areas of Ontario’s skilled trades system.

Included under the purview of the review will be issues related to the scope of practice performed by a tradesperson, as well as the process for the classification of compulsory versus voluntary trades. A compulsory trade is one in which workers must acquire a certificate of qualification from a government-accredited school in order to perform work in that trade. Workers in trades classified as compulsory must pay the College an annual membership fee of $120.

The Government of Ontario also announced that all trade classification reviews will be paused during the duration of Mr. Dean’s review.

This review comes at a pivotal time. In its current form, the College is poorly positioned to deliver on many of the core elements of its mandate, which includes oversight of journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios, ensuring industry compliance and certification, and addressing labour market shortages by promoting careers in the skilled trades.

“This announcement is a first step towards supporting the success of the skilled trades in the province” stated Allan O’Dette, President of the Ontario Chamber. 

Since the College’s creation in 2009, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber Network have led the conversation about reforming the College of Trades.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce will participate vigorously in the review and continue to advocate for changes in the ratio review process. Findings will be presented to the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities and the College of Trades in October 2015.