Canadian Contractor

Steve Payne   

A person achieves skill in a trade through hard work and years of experience, not through a 'College' of Trades…

Canadian Contractor Business

"It is absolutely unbelievable to me that (Ontario) has nothing better to do with its time than to harass honest, hardworking, TAXPAYING tradespeople."

Editor’s note: The Ontario “College” of Trades (OCOT) is already forcing electricians, plumbers, sheet metal workers and HVAC contractors to pay $135.60 a year to keep their already-earned-and-paid-for Certificates of Qualification. (They will take your CofQ away if you refuse to pay up.) Now, the “College” wants to force carpenters to help fund their “enforcement” activities, too. Or goodbye to your carpentry papers, if you don’t write this annual extra cheque.

We’ve had literally hundreds of angry texts, comments and emails from readers about the OCOT. Here’s a good one from Marv Shupp, Mount Brydges, ON…

“It is absolutely unbelievable to me that our provincial government has nothing better to do with its time than to harass honest hardworking, TAXPAYING trades people. I am a self-employed carpenter and I am actually licensed. There are not many of us around. I have had my own business for 23 years and I guess that qualifies me as reasonably successful.

I work every day with very highly skilled people in the construction industry who are not licensed who are as highly skilled, if not more so than I am, including my own employee whose skill level in the cabinet making industry is at a level few will ever reach. He’s not licensed. Any company in the industry would love to have an employee with his skills, licensed or not.
A person achieves skill in a trade through hard work and years of experience, not through a “college” that teaches absolutely nothing. Who will certify the unlicensed trades people in question? Who will train the new people coming into the trade when so few are apparently qualified to do so? The government? The unions? The College of Trades is nothing more than another “revenue tool” that the current provincial government has come up with to fund their ever increasing spending habits and to control yet another area of our increasingly regulated lives. It will do nothing but punish the legitimate trades people and swell the numbers of those working in the underground economy, just like the mandatory WSIB regulations have done.
Yell, scream, call your MPP, call your local media outlets! Let people know about this unfair, unnecessary intrusion into how we earn our living in an already over regulated industry. Let’s stand up and be heard.”


Marv Schupp
Mount Brydges, ON


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13 Comments » for A person achieves skill in a trade through hard work and years of experience, not through a 'College' of Trades…
  1. Liberty Karp says:

    Having to get licensed and paying annual fees is a drag…but then again, so are carpenter’s wages compared to those of plumbers and electricians! The major upside that I see to the regulation of carpentry is that we highly skilled carpenters will no longer have to lower our hourly rates to compete with the dirt-cheap folks who have no idea what they’re doing. Compared to that, $135.60 a year to the government is nothing.

  2. Jim Groves says:

    Well stated Marv. Is it just me or have you noticed that there are a large number of small trades people who haven’t even heard of the OCOT or mandatory WSIB?

  3. Paul Bremner says:

    Surely you’re kidding Mr. Karp.

  4. Michel J. Fournier says:

    Marv, you hit the nail on the head, ( pun intended), Mr. Karp…… are using a rubber mallet that will bounce back and hit you in the head. If you think you will no longer have to compete with fly-by-nighters doing carpentry work on the side, you are mistaken. Will the OCOT police be able to stop them and protect we tradespeople? I don’t think so.

    They already have our names and addresses and they will be spending their time coming around to any of us who are late in making our payments, while just down the road “buddy” is doing a reno, or replacing a furnace that he purchased from a “buddy” that works at a wholesaler, we see this all the time.

    My apprentice son received his first OCOT bill, and obviously feels he is being cheated having to pay for something and getting nothing in return, and a few days later I received a letter from the OCOT stating in a nutshell that if he didn’t pay his bill I wouldn’t be able to let him work for me.

    We are all frogs in a pot of water, with the heat slowly being turned up. Sooner or later we will all either boil to death……or jump out…..if this government keeps gouging us like this, with nothing in return.

    I could go on and on about this being just another tax that brings the Liberal government’s unemployment figures down by the number of people being employed by the OCOT, complete with full benefits and starting 4 weeks paid holidays, which our customers will have to pay for in our overhead charges.
    Unless of course…….. if “buddy” ends up getting the job.

    Thanks for your article Marv………’hope all is well.

  5. Oleber says:

    The best thing the government of Ontario can do is: use duck tape over their mouths in the queens park and the premier should used that also when talking to the media.

    At least we the people, wouldn’t hear, them at all. Nothing anymore makes cense what they say and do.

    These f,,,,,,, from the OCOT having 4 week paid vacation, wages from 70k to 180k , driving around with their high end SUVs to see who have a piece of paper
    under the guise of the costumers protection, I wonder what kind of costumers they really are protecting? Using the public money landed to them to build this nightmare dream; how long this shit will last?

  6. Kerry Avey says:

    I agree with you Marv.
    Having been in the construction industry for 27 years now it was hard and honest work that got me where I am today.
    My customers hire me because I have the experience and knowledge, not because I have a certificate form College and Trades.
    The trades are hands on learning everyday. You are not able to get that in a classroom.

  7. Oleber says:

    Yeah Kerry, real certification takes four or five years apprenticeship program, but the OCOT so called membership apparently is illegal, because takes real certification into a paper joke, in exchange for money, its a rip off.

    From $60.00 every three year to a $120 plus tax a year. The OCOT have no apprenticeship program any kind for the so called membership, only for them.

    Offers nothing in return, and furthermore no trades people were ever asked to a free vote in this matter. This bill was rushed trough the legislation, and government waste 4 million from the tax payers to interview only a few people in this matter. This should be considered a fraud, and should be challenge in the courts. If a large certified trade groups start this matter wouldn’t be fun at all.

    Compulsory trades in the province on Ontario is around 150.000.00, and a lot more none compulsory. The OCOT isn’t a government agency is a NGO, a private alcapone agency collecting money from the hard working people.

    Yeah I agree with you in one thing, it wasn’t my certificate which make me do my job better, it was the experience and knowledge trough the years. So OCOT should be abolish, is another tax grab in one form or another.

    Their wages from 70k to 180k plus bonus and vacation pay for 4 weeks. Only a real stupid government allow a such a thing like this to happen, creating this agency and end up losing over 1.5 million found from the MTCU.

    And the ex premier was a teacher, I only hope isn’t teaching in some school now because he may will dome the class to whom his teaching.

    Conclusion, certification was sold to the OCOT for 8% PST of the $120.00, and 5% GST, Now if the province collects both tax is $15.60, HST in exchange the OCOT resale it for $120.00 to the certified people. Its not about protecting trades and customers, is about protecting their interests and special groups interests. I haven’t sign with the OCOT and would not do it, the court will decide based on the laws we have here, lets see what will happen.

  8. In the 27 years that I have been in business as a design/builder of custom energy efficient homes I have trained an uncountable number of young men and women many of whom have gone on to having their own small businesses to support themselves and their families. Though some of them have become licensed carpenters, as I did a mere nine years ago, most have become contributing members of the economic milieu and support not only themselves but also the associated trades and suppliers with whom they work. To put any impediment in this forward thinking process is no more than “shooting oneself in the foot”. Fortunately I am at the sunset of my career and the ever increasing bureaucracy in the industry makes me think fondly back to the days that we could be innovative and provide our valued customers with a progressive product. Government intervention be damned.

    • Robert Koci says:

      Nicholas: It’s businesses like yours that are the heart and soul of the industry. But it’s businesses like you that will not be able to continue if the current government insists on pushing forward with the College of Trades. The only organizations that benefit from the OCOT are unions and the public service.

  9. Gord Cheney says:

    My suggestion to the younger generation is rally together and stop being harassed. You paid to become a professional and the last thing you need in your careers is harassment from overpaid ex cops.
    If you big shots that agree with this OCOT think you’ve done the right thing, think twice!
    Imagine a few years from now just how much this is going to cost you!
    Here’s a quick example. Your a Gasfitter putting in a domestic h/w vessel and the home owner is a regular customer who has confidence in your work. Now given the fact you have done these tank installation for years and know your competent to do so you complete the job and leave.
    Now according to OCOT you have just committed a violation, as you are not a licensed plumber!
    The reason i bring this example up is, as a member of the OCOT you are paying them to monitor yourselves.
    No homeowner is going to pay 3 different trades to come into a residence and complete a fixture installation.

    • Bob2 says:

      That’s a grey area, technically neither the plumber or gas fitter is fully qualified unless they hold both licenses, I used to get plumbers calling me all the time to go out and do the gas portion of their WH install.

  10. Oleber says:

    Hi Gord, This OCOT apparently is the hub creation form the insane and flip-flop
    government of Ontario, to employee the let go, on our cost trades people.

    Yeah, trades people working for over 20 years on their careers, need monitoring, right, ,,, LOL. This is an assault on the trades people, no one was asked for a free a fair vote.

    Our government leaders have turned them selves into flip-flop tools for theirs special interests, and this could be considered another privatized bullshit selling the certifications of the MTCU. it will be a matter of time the lawsuits will start to fly towards the government.

  11. Nothing surprises me anymore, the government is so busy trying to regulate hard working carpenters and tradesmen they forgot to look at the Building Code Act and Ontario Building Code.

    The B.C.A. and O.B.C. have a requirement for Chief Building Official and Field Inspectors who come out to inspect our work. Their only requirement to pass the qualification is a multiple-question exams from the B.C.A. and O.B.C. Compendium and it is an open book exam.

    The individuals in most cases have never worked in the construction industry and they inspect and regulate our work. To add additional insult to all of us that have paid our dues, the local small municipalities are trying to have the C.B.O. and Field Inspector exempt from qualification through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing who regulate the Building Code.

    Our government in looking out for the health and safety of the public, should first look at better regulating the administration staff of local municipalities that administer the B.C.A. and O.B.C.

    If you are having trouble with your local Building Inspector or building permit application, I would like to hear your story, please contact me at Perhaps we can join forces and put a end to the madness that has been going on in our industry.

    Looking forward to hear from you.

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