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Ontario government to revamp apprenticeship system and “wind down” Ontario College of Trades

Canadian Contractor

The "Making Ontario Open for Business Act" will reset Ontario's journeyperson to apprentice ratio at one-to-one

Proposed legislation will bring 1:1 apprenticeship ratios to Ontario construction, in line with the rest of Canada (photo: John Bleasby)

TORONTO (Oct. 23, 2018) – The Ontario government is introducing legislation to replace parts of Bill 148, a labour bill passed by the previous Liberal government just before this past spring’s election. The replacement bill is being called the Making Ontario Open for Business Act.  For those in the residential construction industry, these changes would, if passed by Ontario’s Legislature, represent a dramatic overhaul of apprenticeship training in the province, as well as addressing other labour issues. As part of the process, Doug Ford’s government says it will “wind down” the Ontario College of Trades.

“Ontario’s Government for the People is helping employers and workers to better fill the demand for skilled trades and apprenticeship jobs and bringing quality jobs back to Ontario by cutting red tape,” a government news release says. “The province is taking the first steps to modernize and transform Ontario’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system. The current regulatory burdens placed on employers and apprentices create barriers to apprenticeship, making it difficult for Ontario to keep up in training the skilled tradespeople that will be demanded by the economy. About one in five new jobs in Ontario in the coming years are expected to be in trades-related occupations.”

Apprenticeship ratios to revert to 1:1
Key to the changes proposed is a change to the apprenticeship ratios in Ontario that will reduce ratios of journeymen to apprentices to 1:1, bringing them in line with most other provinces in Canada. “Currently, Ontario’s ratios are among the highest in Canada, limiting the number of apprentices an employer can train relative to the number of journeypersons they employ,” the release continues. “Ontario’s journeyperson to apprentice ratios likely contribute to the higher costs seen in the construction sector. For trades that are subject to ratios, the change to a one-to-one journeyperson to apprentice ratio would simplify and streamline how employers can hire and oversee apprentices, reduce costs and provide more flexibility for employers. Setting a single, lower ratio would better align Ontario with other provinces and territories in Canada.”

CLICK HERE to read the full release


Winding down the Ontario College of Trades
“Apprenticeship in Ontario needs to be modernized and transformed to better meet the needs of apprentices, employers and industry,” the media release continues. “As part of the government’s commitment to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens, and to modernize apprenticeship in Ontario, the government is proposing to wind down the Ontario College of Trades. The government intends to develop a replacement model for the regulation of the skilled trades and apprenticeship system in Ontario by early 2019.”

Proposed changes greeted with enthusiasm by industry associations
The proposals were greeted enthusiastically by the Merit OpenShop Contractors Association, a member-driven organization representing Ontario’s open shop construction sector which, according to its website “advocates and supports sound legislation and regulation which is fair to both employers and employees in the areas on labour relations, apprenticeship training, worker’s compensation, and safety.”

“Reducing the ratio system to 1:1 will allow our member companies to immediately hire additional apprentices,” said Michael Gallardo, Merit Ontario Executive Director. “A lack of workers is the number one issue facing my members and this policy change will significantly help them find and train those workers.”

“This is a great day for Ontario’s skilled workers and employers,” said Sean Reid, Vice President and Regional Director, Ontario, for the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA). “For many years PCA has been a strong advocate of bold action to remove barriers so that far more people can pursue skilled trades careers. We’re pleased the Ford government heard the call of workers and employers across Ontario by taking bold steps that will put thousands to work in skilled trades jobs throughout our industry and will lead to the development of the next generation of our skilled trades workforce.”

Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, with Jim Wilson, Ontario’s Minister Responsible for Red Tape and Regulatory Burden Reduction, announcing new labour legislation for Ontario

More labour reform proposed
There’s more to the proposed changes than apprenticeship ratios and OCOT. Jim Wilson, Ontario’s Minister Responsible for Red Tape and Regulatory Burden Reduction, joined Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour and Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, to announce further regulatory and legislative changes that, if passed by Ontario’s Legislature, will make it easier for Ontario employers to hire and make it easier for workers to find jobs and grow their careers in Ontario.

“When it comes to the economy, being ‘For the People’ means keeping and growing good jobs right here in Ontario,” said Wilson in a second media release. “This will not happen on its own. Instead it starts with cutting the unnecessary red tape that is driving jobs and investment out of our province.”

CLICK HERE to read the second Ontario news release

“As part of the additional reforms the Ministers announced that the government would take immediate action to repeal much of the burdensome, job-killing red tape imposed by the previous government through the notorious Bill 148. These reforms include maintaining Ontario’s current minimum wage at $14 per hour until 2020, to be followed by increases tied to inflation.” The government also will replace sections of Bill 148 that impact all workers in Ontario. “For the first time in Ontario’s history, workers will be able to take up to three days for personal illness, two for bereavement and three for family responsibilities,” the media release says. “Current provisions for domestic and sexual violence leave will be maintained, which is a valuable protection for employees. The proposed reforms will also reduce the red-tape burden around scheduling while updating the Labour Relations Act.”

More details will follow once legislation is passed. Canadian Contractor will be standing by.

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11 Comments » for Ontario government to revamp apprenticeship system and “wind down” Ontario College of Trades
  1. you had my vote and always will thank you

  2. it is about time for ont to hire are up and coming trade apprentices for get the 1 on 1 make ont great again

  3. Rick Cook says:

    The problem isn’t red tape ….., it’s the youth of today doesn’t want to do manual labour. The Ontario government can throw as Much money at the problem as they like but if there’s no bodies to fill the jobs then what !!

    • Loke says:

      Lol that may be so. But we are nost definitely held back by the journeyman-apprenticeship ratio. Thus will increase skilled tradesmen tenfold.

  4. John Gibb says:

    I am so proud of Doug Ford and the move to get rid of this overpriced trade threatening organization. True to the conservative promise I am very impressed

  5. paul says:

    Hello , and to who this may concern. I have been out of a job for about two months and am actively seeking out information on a apprenticeship , in particular ” Cable network specialist ” and am finding the gathering of information difficult . please if anyone can contact me concerning my issue it would be appreciated. ph. 905-867-5188 paul , Regards.

  6. Mark says:

    ‪On June 7th 2016 I took my truck in to replace the starter!This was a mechanic I used for about 4 years. Pacific and vine garage!‬
    ‪After truck was repaired, and paid him in full I drove for about 2 -3weeks. After one morning as I started my truck, I heard a loud noisme. Following that a leak of transmission fluid. I called pacific and vine to check my truck and see what the problem was in regards to leaks.‬

    ‪The owner of Pacific and vine garage, Orlando Diotalevi went under the truck to diagnose the leak. Tells me that the starter came loose, “the starter that his employee Installed, 3 weeks before.‬
    ‪I asked Did you tighten the starter? So I crawl below my vehicle and I see the stuarter completely loose and hitting my transmission lines! ‬
    ‪I said to him This is why my transmission lines are leaking, it’s totally rubbing and slamming against the lines. He started to dengy it! First excuse was that the leak is coming from the transmission to engine seal! Then He says that the lines are rusty, and that he’s not changing the lines. As I got upset and and tried to tell him that something went wrong on his part.He decided to drive my truck of his lot! Tells me Mr muscat I’m not fixing your truck ,if you come back I will call the police!‬
    ‪I had to go to a different mechanic‬
    ‪that day inform me that the starter was installed incorrectly and this cause a chain reaction mechanical failure of my truck costing me over $5500 not to mention loss of work and a huge amount of stress‬
    ‪I went through small claims court and found out the name of the mechanic that worked on my vehicle . Salvatore siggia was an unregistered mechanic. Not even registered as an apprentice worked on my vehicle.‬
    ‪Work that wasn’t inspected by a journeyman ‬
    ‪After all this I brought this business to court and i have a judgment for an amount below $5,500.00. And still he refuse to pay

    My question who is going to control these contractors that do bad work?

  7. Iurie says:

    I support the government move.

  8. Peter says:

    It was mentioned that this is starting for the residential industry does that mean if we work on high-rise residential this law goes into effect as well does it include it

  9. John cummins says:

    In our case, the government is planning on cancelling our apprenticeship program. We are a small fluid power company 20 employees. Have put 10 employees through the apprenticeship program . Currently have five in the program, we do the schooling and practical at our headquarters. You intend to cancel the apprenticeship mid program ( no grandfathering) in one of the biggest fields in our economy fluid power. The apprenticeship hydraulic pneumatic mechanic. Cancelling is a mistake. Cheers John.

  10. Andy Lama says:

    I have been in the trade more than 30 years and I have work on everything from service,high rise,residential,comercial ,industrial ,water and waste water plants and refinery. I believe the apprenticeship program needs more layers of training to prepare that person to deal with industrial /commercial construction projects.We are seeing apprentices on site that do not have the tools and knowledge to be safe and do the job.The plan in place to date is incomplete.Plumbers are called upon to do much more than plumbing these days and with that comes higher learning and more responsibility. Which in my opinion equates to a higher wages.If the schooling was a 5 level system .Ie service,residential,high rise,commercial, industrial. The individual that wanted a higher more advanced diversified qualification ,to obtain more money and create a brighter future ,would be able to enroll in these applicable industrial type certifications.The college’s could have more courses to teach and more qualified trades people would emerge to better lead the people of the future.Upgrade the system ,is all I am suggesting.Skilled trades people are key to our world.Thank you

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