I want to talk about the Ontario College of Trades and their incredibly short-sighted and dangerous attempts to certify carpenters in the province.
First, please bear with me while I tell a little story about “craftsmanship” that illustrates the insanity of the OCOT.
It’s actually about music. When my wife told me she had got tickets to a rock show a few weeks back (she being the rock fan) I enquired, “Is it for The Who?”
She replied “Yes.”
So off we went to the event, taking our seats. When the band entered, the drum kit and the backdrop said – not The Who – but Yes.
“I thought it was The Who?” I asked my wife.
“Yes,” she replied. Yes, she was right again.
Somewhere during this loud performance, Jon Anderson, one of the co-founders of Yes, sat alone on stage. This was a special moment. The spot light was on him and every other band member was gone and with just darkness surrounding him on stage, he began to strum his guitar.
He blew me away as I listened.
Next morning I Googled Jon Anderson and only then did I really appreciate who this gentleman was. That he was 70 years old, that he is a master of his trade – and that he’s been practicing his trade since he was 15 years old, when he left school to dedicate himself to that trade.
After leaving school, he received no further education, nor training, nor apprenticeship. Fifty-five years later, alone on that stage, he displayed utter and complete control of his craft: his life’s work.
Click here (but please come back to my story) to hear him play the same number (though 23 years earlier) than the version I heard on my night listening to him. But what I heard was even better.
Jon Anderson’s mastery of his trade – which is almost magical – got me thinking about how any craftsman learns any craft.
Can you imagine someone founding a College of Rock to provide administration and oversight over professional musicians? Imagine them declaring musicians such as Jon Anderson, professionals for decades, that they were no longer “certified” to perform professionally and that they needed to go back to the start and get their apprenticeships?
Not even a testing mechanism to evaluate their skills.
I bet most of us would say, “Well, this is crazy.” And yes it would be. And that’s what is about to happen to anyone practicing carpentry, or hanging drywall, in the province of Ontario.
Under the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) upcoming review of carpenters and drywallers, the OCOT is very likely to make both “compulsory” trades, which means they would have to join the OCOT – and possibly become certified – i.e., obtain Certificates of Qualification – even though vast numbers of extremely competent carpenters and drywallers have no such certification. Yet are as good at their trades as Jon Anderson is at his. For the same reasons: They have honed their skills over decades!
OCOT is about to do this to you and our industry.
Under Ontario’s definition of a “carpenter,” the work of performing home renovations is included. Is it possible that OCOT will, with one fell swoop, make home renovators – as well as carpenters, as well as drywallers – technically illegal if they are not members of OCOT. And if they are not certified?
The public does not realize the massive increase in home renovation costs that this would create.
The underground market will be fed by this government interference.
We need to stop the OCOT.
On April 8th at 9.30 am, Garfield Dunlop, licensed plumber and MPP in the Ontario Legislature (he’s the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeships critic) is having a press conference at Queen’s Park to oppose the OCOT – and specifically this latest move to choke down on carpenters and other trades in the province.
Because of security, contractors need to tell us if they would like to show up. But we want you to be there.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to attend.
Then go to: stopthetradetax.ca and sign their petition.
CARAHS was founded as a non profit association to advocate and mentor self employed renovators and home services (Canadian Association of Renovators and Home Services)