College of 'Idiocracy': Opinion
The Ontario College of Trades, as far as the renovation industry is concerned, is offering little that isn't being done by other regulatory bodies. Except for more fees for certain trades.
By Steve Payne
I tried, I really tried, to be “balanced.”
When I came aboard as editor of Canadian Contractor in late May, my predecessor (that guy opposite) had been slamming the fledgling Ontario College of Trades in these pages for quite some time. Dozens of categories of skilled tradespeople in the province will have to pay, very soon now, compulsory annual fees to belong to a “College” that will teach no courses and educate no workers.
The College is purely a regulatory body. It’s supposed to police the 157 trades that, under the 2008 College of Trades and Apprenticeships Act, it can now control. “Only” a couple dozen of those trades will be hit with “compulsory” $120 fees in 2013 (see page 18), the rest are allowed to join on a “voluntary” basis. But the precedent has been set. Expect a lot more trades to be brought in by the College’s internal processes. It will need the revenue.
We’ve interviewed Ron Johnson, the chairman of the board of the College. We’ve had the College’s registrar and CEO, Rob Guthrie, in to meet with contractors at our offices. After listening closely to them, I can’t see one function that this organization will fill, in exchange for tens of millions of dollars of fees collected, that isn’t already being done by the many legal and regulatory systems in place (for good reason) for decades in the shelter industry. They work!
You want to build below code? We already have an entire army of building inspectors to look after that. You want to operate under-the-table? That’s patently-obviously punishable by any number of municipal, provincial and federal authorities. You want to operate as an unlicensed electrician or plumber? What, that was legal before? Come on.
What does this new bureaucracy add to our industry?
Nothing but extra fees and a promise that you can tell customers you belong. To a College of Idiocracy.