Magazine for professional home renovators.

Ontario College of Trades compulsory trades fees announced: Opponents respond

The Ontario College of Trades – a new “regulatory body” for the province’s tradespeople that will teach no courses and train no workers – has announced the membership fees that it will begin collecting in April 2013. Apprentices will have to pay $60 to the College, journeypersons and employers, $120. These fees will be levied on top of any existing licensing or Certificate of Qualification fees that Ontario tradespeople already have to pay.

In the home improvement industry, four trades are “compulsory” (i.e., these trades “must” pay, with as yet unknown consequences if they don’t): electricians, plumbers, sheet metal workers and air conditioning/refrigeration mechanics. Carpenters are not yet “mandatory.” Nor yet are any other homebuilding trades beyond the four mentioned. But opponents of the College are warning that, in the years ahead (or earlier) the College is almost certainly going to take over more and more trades of the 157 that it is monitoring, representing 500,000 Ontario workers. The vast majority of whom already pay licensing fees to other regulatory bodies that will continue to exist.

Most of the anti-College publicity so far has been driven by the Coalition of Ontario Construction Employers, which says it represents over 100,000 Ontario tradespeople and employers.  In a press release, it says new fees announced last week “by the McGuinty government’s newest bureaucracy amounts to a major tax hit on both tradespeople and consumers.” The Coalition says the fees will drive up a host of consumer service costs, from a hair cut to hiring a plumber, electrician and auto mechanic.

“There’s no question this new McGuinty government bureaucracy is as secretive, disorganized and undemocratic as ever,” said Sean Reid, Chair of the Coalition. “They’ve been stalling for months now on this multi-million dollar tax grab that slams tradespeople and consumers, and yet they still haven’t bothered to explain what tradespeople will get in return. That’s because there is no benefit. It is money for nothing.”

“The reality is that it will cost tradespeople more to do their jobs, employers more to create jobs, and consumers more for a range of services. And the money is all going to support another layer of government bureaucracy that no one needs or wants,” he says.

The Ontario College of Trades, for its part, says that the fees it is levying are good value for the affected trades, since one of the College’s functions will be to provide a way for the public to know if a trade they have hired to work on their homes is “in good standing.”

In addition, the College has said that it will play a major role in attracting young people into the skilled trades at a time when so many skilled workers are retiring. But the College has not announced any details on how it will actually do this nor what that would cost.

The College has a head office on Bay Street in downtown Toronto. Currently about 60 workers are employed there. Bob Guthrie, the College’s registrar, has told Canadian Contractor that this number may triple as the college gets up to speed. The College’s budget is about $22-million for 2013, provincially funded. That burden will soon pass to the tradespeople of the province.

 

 

Posted by
Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
34 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Once again another layer of bureaucracy, how else can they create jobs ? They have know idea how to get this Province working again, so their idea is to create more tax grabs, and hire more employees to boost their numbers of jobs created. 100,000 strong, lets make sure they hear us !!!

  2. If no one pays t he new tax and we all rebel, maybe someone will listen.

    • You could not be any more correct with your statement.Good for you Andre,and every tradesperson whom refuses to pay these idiots for nothing.

  3. I have working in renovation as a carpenter since 1984 (licenced 1988) and running my own business since 1989. My grandfather and uncle were electrian for Canada Electric since the sixties. My other uncle was sheet metal worker. My Great grand father was a foundry worker in Toronto. His brother was a mason. Coming up on to my 30 year anniversary in the renovation business. Apparently I will not be qualified to work in the province of Ontario unless I pay the college their fee. Back off!

    I do not need more bureaucracy or certification to ever widen the gap between the under table people and me.

  4. Yet again another tax grab and another try at getting everyone “organized” I have a feeling that if we ALL refuse to pay, they will have to think things over.Do all that you can to support your co-workers and fellow contractors.I for 1 will not pay for this.

  5. And the Government wants to know WHY the underground economy is alive ?
    I currently pay to run my one horse service business the following fees.
    – Refrigeration & A /C license
    – Gas fitter 1 license
    – TSSA ( which by the way send no info except to explain a fee increase or
    audit )
    – liability insurance ( based on gross sales – what a joke! )
    – now Ont College of Trades fee
    – also WSIB effective Jan 2013 ( holy cow this could turn into an annuity for
    those of us in our later years w/ pain from working in the trade )
    I’m fed up ! Guess I”ll back off, get out of Bus and live simple, that should rely
    stimulate the economy and educate our youth ………. I’ve had it !!!

    • Robert Koci

      Greg: You and thousands of trades who are tired of supporting salaries in safe, easy jobs in the public service deserve better.

  6. You say that one reason for the College and the fee increase is so that the comsumer will be able to check and see if they have a legitimat tradesperson. Explain to me how Ontario Hydro issues a permit without a valid licence? Why don’t you just be honest and say “it’s a money grab”.
    bill…..electrican…interprovincial….37yrs

  7. I’m fully unaware of all of this. I really think they should explain themselves before asking a single penny! Thanks a lot for the informative post.

  8. I would like to know why we will not be able to reveiw the budget for the College of Trades for 2013 which is now in place. It will be our memebrship fees that will be paying to fund this college of tardes, so with that said I believe that if we are going to be forced to pay the annual membership fees without any choice then we are entitled to reveiw the budget now to see how our monies is going to be spent.
    I think that every trades person and employer needs to demand to receive a copy of the budget before you pay any fees.
    remember it is our monies not the governments or the tax payers money, it is the trade people and trade employers that will be paying this and the College of Trades need to be open and transparent. They also do have to be held accountable to us the trades people.

  9. I recieved a letter on friday introducing the College(but it’s not really a college) to me for the first time. I have been a licensed auto mechanic for more than forty years. I am five years from retirement. This college will cost all of you who decide to pay the fee they demand (or else). a lot of money as they increase thier annual fees very quickly in order to pay their rediculous salaries.
    I will likely pay both of my license fees when they come due, however I wll never pay the folks in Toronto one dollar. I wonder if that means I will finish my working years with out a license. Perhaps the guys who work with out a license in an improperly equipped shop often for cash under the table are the smart ones after all.

  10. I believe that all ontario tradespeople should not pay this ridiculous fee.We must stop this nonsense once and for all.Who do these clowns think they are at extorting money from hard working people,which they have no idea what a real job is.We pay taxes on taxes on taxes to pay for some lazy politician or his lazy buddies.We have earned our certification,not the lazy people who tax the crap out of everyone,and spend our tax dollars like a bunch morons whom they are.This will do nothing for tradespeople whatsoever. because we are the trained professionals,and not these idiots.We need tradespeople,fire rescue,police,and military,but we certainly would be better off if there were no politicians ever again.I cannot think of one logical reason why there is any use for politicians.If they were honest,then perhaps there may be some use for them other than sucking money out of everyone that they did not earn whatsoever.I just cannot believe how many bloodsuckers are out there,WOW.

  11. one or two day work stoppage see how ontario makes out with no tradersman

  12. i ready to joint skilltrades people who wont pay this tax crab. We must stop this. Too much weight.

  13. Got my letter the other day. I just paid for my 3 year stickers for motor vehicle and truck and coach , the letter states that the $120.00 I just paid will be applied to my $120.00 membership fee. I say B.S. I never applied to be a member, as well I think they are breaching a contract. No indication was given with my notice for renewal.
    The letter states alot of B.S. let’s be realistic , who in their right mind will want to work in their trade in this province. Let’s call a spade a spade , the Liberal government has been in contempt as dishonest since the day McGuinty took power.I am contemplating telling the Colleges to pound salt, if all trades people do that where will they be , will they put us all on the register showing us as suspended. I for one will request a refund for the money I just paid .
    I agree with jin, all trades people shouls stand together and proclaim a day of protest and work stoppage to show that we have had enough of the Government cash grab.

  14. ALL forms of Canadian government have now declared WAR on Canadian citizens .Democracy is dead in Canada. The feds just anounced that your savings are no longer yours. ARE YOU PREPARED?

  15. I am fed up with this government. They will not get my vote in the next election..

  16. My trade licenses went up 500% for what, to say I belong to some association, & please tell me how publishing my name and license # on their members list is going to enlighten the consumer, BS it is just another way of Big Bro keeping their hands in my wallet, if you want my ticket before I do some work for you I’ll be more than happy to show it to you, but to publicly display it on the internet is a invasion of my privacy, when I looked up my name there are 2 exact names, there is no way anyone is going to the trouble of making sure they have the right ticket # etc, there is no way of telling if the same person owns 2 tickets, and if one show up with an infraction how does the consumer know if he has the right person or someone with the same name, they will just move on and hire someone else, besides that;s why you hire a reputable company, who employs qualified licensed trades persons, carry WSIB, insurance, etc,so what is this org going to do for me ? nothing, nil, zero, nada, no matter how you say it it a big fat tax grab !!!

  17. Ok let’s call Ontario College Of Trades what it really is :

    1: College: Noun:
    A: An educational institution or establishment, in particular
    B: One providing higher education or specialized professional or vocational “training”

    2: Union: bullshit:
    A. The act of uniting or the state of being united.
    B. A combination so formed, especially an alliance or confederation of people, parties, or political entities for mutual interest or benefit.

    The College Of Trades is not a COLLEGE it offers nothing in return for its membership fees. NO TRAINING AT ALL.
    It is in fact a UNION, an alliance or confederation of people, parties, or political entities for mutual interest or benefit.
    And their soul interest is to benefit $$$$ from the hard working trades of Ontario.

    They actually tweeted this me:
    “We will use these fees- the lowest of all 40 ON colleges- to protect consumers & support you legitimate tradespeople.”

    Duh ??? I am a “consumer” and a legitimate tradesman. And I see “NO” protect and “NO” support. Only higher fees. Which in turn will cause all trades to increase their rates. And I’ll have to pay even more for any services I need.
    So honestly. “WHO IS BENEFITTING”
    I know : the “OCOT UNION” board members. That’s who. Their making 6 figure incomes protecting me from me.

    I am a licence mechanic. I am “NOT” a member of “any” COLLEGE. And I will never join any UNION.
    So after Mar 2015 when my Valid Ontario Mechanic Licence expires. I will be joining the unlicensed sector of Ontario workers.
    GREAT JOB OCOT. WAY TO GO. FORCING PEOPLE TO BECOME UNLICENCED, instead of promoting for more skilled trades.

  18. So one of the trades certificates I hold is for Appliance Service Tech,I studied paid and wrote the non mandatory tests and was told I was good for life, if I get a letter asking for money I am going to rip up and throw it all in the trash.

  19. Sure is making becoming a politician attractive!!!

  20. I just recently recieved an e-mail from Sean stating that the CCA is fighting for a reduction in our fees from $200 to $100,which in fact is incorrect from what I have recieved.Sounds a little fishy if you ask me.First,and foremost,CCA should be fighting to eliminate this fee period!.I do not understand their agenda if in fact they proclaim they are for us tradespeople,umm?Whom is CCA affiliated with anyway????Certainly raises more questions than any logical response I have recieved to date.

    Journeyman Electrician
    Robert Perron

  21. Mechanics have the largest tool cost they are the lowest of all trades paid, only in the last 10 years were they able to write off the expense of tools purchased in excess of 1000.00 per year. This is just going to create less people becoming mechanics and create more of a back yard repair industry in this province. But hey someones got to pay for all the screw ups the Ontario Government have made like the gas plants and cancelled projects. Why not the lowest paid trade. BONE HEADS, All they are doing is job creation for government employees who have lost their jobs through government incompetence.

  22. Stick together people and refuse to pay this form of extortion.All for one.Sooner or later they will have to abolish this so called college of trades as they did with the gun registry.I guess I’ll have to vote conservative to have this tax eliminated.

  23. Guys I was planning to become a license mechanic but with this fee coming on I will hold my horse an keep working the way I am working, keep the money in my pocked .

    NO FEES, NO LAZY GOVERMMENT EMPLOYEES.

    Thanks

  24. i hold a ticket for class A auto mechanic…..THESE BLOODSUCKERS WONT GET A PENNY OUT OF ME..THEY WILL HAVE TO COME TO MY HOUSE AND RIP IT OUT OF MY POCKET…EVERYTHING WE BUY HAS TAX ON IT..ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

  25. This is just more typical money grab tactics. Gov’t doesn’t want to look after it anymore so dish it off to OCOT. Let them charge whatever they want, looks like I will get the same service I got before. Basically nothing, now they put my name on a website so people who hire me to do work IN THEIR HOMES can see if I’ve paid money.. I don’t fix a whole lot of cars in peoples houses.. I don’t even work in the auto trade at the moment but don’t want to lose my licence just in case. Thanks to the ONT GOV’T for letting someone else stick their hand into my bank account some more..

    • Hey Shane, how is Dellen Millard?

  26. Got my renewal notice friday january 10/14 , $6.76 to renew for a year , monday january 13/14 get final notice , letter gets a little threatening stating if payment isn’t received within 60 days of expiration that it’s additional $120.00 to renew and my name goes on the list as not certified. Who are these morons [that took $120.00 from me last february where the misnistry of skills gave me a 3 year renewal ] that just come along and change my trade contract so they can generate revenue. I called and the girl went into this B.S. how her taxes subsidized my licence for the past years because the rate was too low. I flat out told her that bi did not recognize the college of trades and they could take a flying leap.The Mcginty and wynne government covered their bases here , the CEO is a former P.C. cabinet minister under the harris government.

    • Steve Payne

      Norm, what is this about the $6.76? I thought the College of Trades wanted $120 from you every year now. Can you clarify the $6.76 part. We are down at a meeting with the College’s “registrar” (they really make it sound like a real college, don’t they, not just a bunch of phones and computers compiling lists and cashing cheques) David Tsubouchi in Stratford tonight. He is doing the PR bit, I guess, for the College. We will have a report.

      • Steve,
        I paid my $120.00 last February for my 310s and 310t tickets.3 weeks later I get my notice from the college that they are now regulating the trades.I got the invoice for renewal for $6.76 as that is the prorated amount from February 2014 until expiration in 2015. That is total bs , why renew last year under the ministry of skills for 3 years and 2 weeks later send a notice that things have changed .They should have sent the notice about the changes first rather than rip me off for a 3 year renewal that they knew would be void under the new changes.
        I did get a good lecture though on unions and how to start one when I called Monday.This was all brought about by the brotherhood of electrical workers and that two faced idiot that was premier, his replacement is just as bad.My mpp here in Niagara is of no use and tim hudak is all talk , he won’t even reply to emails , no wonder his popularity is so low and I support the PC’s. This cash cow is here to stay.

  27. Is this the way to get more people into trades? Shaking my head, This is sure a way to get them out! This is a big disrespectful slap in the face to all trades people which are the very backbones of this country. I phoned this outfit that took over and asked what they will do to help us with this increase and then there was silence. It used to be $70 for three years now it’s $140 for 1 yr what a kick in the backside.I urge all trades people to flood this joke of an administration with letters, “E” mails etc Tie up your MP’s and MPP’s protest! do something, WE HAVE TO SEND A STRONG MESSAGE THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE! I hope all trades people don’t just sit back and let this go because this won’t be the end and we may as well pull the grass over ourselves now.

  28. Peter, many of us have been fighting for well over a year and some since the day it was imposed upon us. it appears to me that the “sheeple” are resigned to the fact it is going to happen, whether it is out of laziness or lack of understand, without a mass uprising we are doomed to become another bureaucratic agency governed by friends of friend of friend all appointed by friends to plumb positions with equally generous pay cheques and benefits, go onto their site and read their balance sheet, something like 15 mil in salary etc and only 4 mil for education. etc, it appears to be structured like WSIB and we all know what a monopoly that is, that cost more to implement that it would to pay all the injured workers a proper and fair wage, again loaded with fat cat’s, monster salaries, perks, while they screw the injured worker out of his rightfully due monies !

    • Even if there are no immediate plans to scrap this dictatorship imposed upon us, we can still send a strong message when we go to the polls. DON’T vote for those lying bastard – LIBERALS , Wynne is a female version of mcGuinty .Take a look at how many fees and taxes that they have imposed since they have come to power.I went from being comfortable and making a decent living to living pay check to pay check > I wouldn’t vote NDP either as they will keep the College of Trades as a revenue generator as they like to squander more of our hard earned dollars on other useless things.

Submit your comment

Comments posted here, may also appear in the print version of Canadian Contractor Magazine.

Please enter your name

Your name is required

Please enter a valid email address

An email address is required

Please enter your message