Canadian Contractor

Home renovators will become unemployed if Ontario College of Trades has its way with carpenters

Earlier today I took part in a protest at Queen's Park by my CARAHS members against OCOT. Those hardhats on the ground in this pic all have "pink slips" attached. Which is exactly what OCOT would like to see happen when it forces the certification of carpenters, including renovators. Pleased to see PC MPP Garfield Dunlop holding a press conference with Tim Hudak on this issue.

April 8, 2014
By Alec Caldwell
Alec Caldwell

Today I went to Queen’s Park with some of my CARAHS members (Canadian Association of Renovators and Home Services) to protest the move by the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) to certify carpenters.


The reason for the protest was that it was the one-year anniversary of OCOT today – and there was lots of anti-OCOT activity down at the Legislature. For example, in addition to the CARAHS protest, MPP Garfield Dunlop, the PC’s Skilled Trades and Apprenticeships Critic (and a licensed plumber), gave a press conference with his leader, Tim Hudak, telling the media how much damage the OCOT is doing to the prospects of young people getting good-paying jobs in the trades.

In particular, the OCOT is having a devastating effect on trades training by its plan to certify carpenters in the province. Certification (there will be no grandfathering, we are told, even for framers, for example, with 35 years’ experience) would force tens of thousands of contractors, renovators and carpenters to seek official training in their already-perfected (in most cases) trades practice – or be deemed to be working illegally. This, as Garfield pointed out, is pure INSANITY.

Here’s some notes I jotted down before today’s protest…

There are thousands of great renovators in Ontario whose skills match or outweigh those of Mike Holmes – even though homeowners may never hear these words spoken by Holmes himself.

Becoming a quality renovator takes years to perfect. Many of their initial skills were taught to them by their fathers or uncles during long summer holidays, no differently than the way Mike Holmes learned. 

These professionals follow building codes, apply for building permits, pay into WSIB, are compliant with the Occupational Health & Safety Act – and yet they seem largely to go unnoticed  by the media.

There are also bad apples in our industry, yes.  It would be good if we could find a way to weed them out and raise the standards.

But the way the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) wants to go about it (if they make carpentry a “compulsory” trade – which they are about to do) is to make most home renovators in the province illegal – by forcing anyone who performs carpentry in the province (which is pretty well every renovator) to get certified.  These hardworking men and women will  have no other option but to join the underground market – or go back and get training that will be costly, time-consuming and pointless. There will be no grandfathering.

It’s not as if Ontario contractors have been unregulated! In addition to building codes, building departments and inspectors, authorities in electrical, plumbing, HVAC… you name it, we have seen the introduction in January last year of mandatory WSIB for the self-employed. The Ministry of Labour’s (MOL) has introduced a mandatory supervision course, which everyone working in Ontario needs to complete by July 1st. Then there is the new MOL working at heights standard which is expected to come into play on July 1st… although few people in the renovations business know about it.

Now the Ontario College of Trades want to outlaw home renovators or anyone else who cuts wood or does drywalling, if they have not completed an  apprenticeship program.           

My son-in-law works for a large unionized drywall company in Toronto and he hit the roof when he found out recently that OCOT intended to unemploy him, as he has no apprenticeship. He said this was crazy… and he’s right.

Now, it’s well-known that a number of important unions support OCOT. But even in union-land, there is signficant opposition to OCOT and for very good reasons: It’s a job-killer. Last week, LIUNA, one of North America’s largest construction unions, joined the fight against OCOT.

On Friday April 4th, Federal Employment and Social Development Minster Jason Kenney called on the Ontario Liberal government to put a stop to its job-killing plan to force mandatory certification on carpenters throughout the province.

Sign the petition to stop OCOT.

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)  Toll free 1 866-366 2930



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3 Comments » for Home renovators will become unemployed if Ontario College of Trades has its way with carpenters
  1. david says:

    The link to the “sign the petition” page does not work.

    My company does all structural and rough carpentry in house so this will actually completely circumvent the way we do business. Who is going to put down subfloor now, a red seal carpenter?

  2. Alec Caldwell says:

    Hi David…. To get to sign the petition, until I can fix the above link. If you cope and paste the following link in to your browser, its get you there.

    Your carpentry workers will all have to go and get their apprenticeship papers, if they already don’t have the. If the College brings this in to law, no one can work without their certification papers.

  3. pure communism—-gov money grabbing tatics —tradesmen & consumers will suffer yet again with money mongering gov burecrats with bigger wages and putting everday people out of work and bankrupt us all …..time for Canadians to stand up and state enough is enough in many aspects with increasing costs ……evenutaully who will pay ….. STOP THIS LUDICROUS ACTION NOW

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