Canadian Contractor

Steve Payne   

Don't cooperate with Ontario College of Trades officers asking for your papers, contractor association head advises

Canadian Contractor Business

Doug Leitch, an electrician who has - as head of the OCSBA - has exhaustively researched the actual legal powers of the Ontario College of Trades since its inception, advises his fellow contractors that if they refuse to cooperate with OCOT inspectors, they are, in fact, fully within the law.

If you are a contractor in Ontario and get a visit from the “enforcement officers” from the Ontario College of Trades (in their brand new vans), you don’t legally have to show them your papers unless they can prove that they’ve received a complaint against you. You can, in fact, ask them to leave.

That’s the assertion made today on our site by someone who knows the legalities of the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) better than, probably, any contractor in the province. Doug Leitch, an electrician from Carleton Place, Ont., who founded the Ontario Contractor & Small Business Association ( last year, spurred in part by issues like the OCOT, has been communicating with the “College” for more than a year, pointing out their potential violations of existing law, especially when it comes to privacy of contractors’ information.

On our site today, Leitch posted this, in reply to another reader complaining about OCOT officers on his site:

“Did the OCOT compliant officers have a valid complaint against any of your guys? You are aware that unless they do not have a valid complaint against you or your guys, you do not have to show them anything at all?


The only mandate that the Ontario College of Trades has is to receive and investigate complaints against members of the college!

Next time tell them where to go and ask them to leave. Then inform them that if they do not leave you will place a call to the police to have them charged with harassment because, unless they have received or can produce a compliant, then in my opinion the only reason they are there is to harass you and your guys.

It is time for trades people to inform these compliancy officers that they are a private organization and they do not have the same powers.
The OCOT is not a government organization!

I cannot wait until I meet one of these compliancy officers on a site where I am working. I have a copy of the legislation (The Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act 2009) in my truck. (That document) is the only thing that I will be showing them and then the door.

I will be taking down their information and filing a formal complaint of harassment against them.

Everyone, you need to know your rights and do not let these compliancy officers think they have more powers than they really do. Stand up to them now to protect your rights.”


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