The fledgling Ontario College of Trades, under attack from a vocal coalition of construction firms as nothing but a “$84 million tax,” will in fact provide plenty of benefits to the 500,000 skilled trades who will soon come under its self-governing umbrella, argues Ron Johnson, chair of the college’s board of governors. In this video interview with Canadian Contractor, Johnson says that, among other benefits, the college will help protect legitimate skilled trades people from under-the-table, unlicensed and unqualified competitors. Hook-and-ladder, general renovation contractors will not be required to join the college, he says. But they may choose to do so voluntarily, Johnson adds. Electricians and sheet metal workers are among the 22 mandatory trades categories who must join. When the college is officially up and running on Jan. 1, fees for apprentices are expected to range from $50 to $100; journeypersons from $100 to $200.