Canadian Contractor

Alec Caldwell   

Ontario College of Trades and their Suspension Date dues notices

Canadian Contractor

As we all know, invoices in our society usually contain a payment “due date” – if it’s not “payable upon receipt.”

Well, the folks at the Ontario College of Trades seem to have found a way to “improve” on that wording. They now refer, when invoicing their members, to a “suspension date.” Makes you feel good, doesn’t it?

Failure to remit their (OCOT) demanded yearly fees and have them processed prior to the “suspension date,” can have grave consequences. As the College states:

“Please be aware that payment in full is not processed before your suspension date, your membership in the College maybe suspended and an additional reinstatement fee of up to $120 plus HST may apply.”


(Yes, please don’t forget the HST. There’s a provincial tax and a federal tax on top of the trades tax, folks!)

For an annual OCOT membership fee amount of $135.60, after the suspension date you may have to pay $270.60. What a cash cow!

Here’s a thought, when OCOT receives its rent/lease payment due notice on its prestigious overpriced offices on Bay Street in downtown Toronto, does the notice say: payment due date or eviction date? Hopefully the landlord has more class than the tenant.

This is no way for anyone to treat its membership.

Especially a membership that has been press-ganged into joining the organization by legislation.

Let us know if you have any comments about the OCOT and their “Suspension Date” etiquette.

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24 Comments » for Ontario College of Trades and their Suspension Date dues notices
  1. Moe Lawson says:

    Should I be surprised? Fits right in with our Nazi Ont. Gov. They make me sick.

  2. so if you have an Interprovincial trades ticket in one of the trades don’t imagine their suspension would mean much! wonder if this is driving more people to go underground!

  3. Ian wright says:

    I think the college of trades should disappear as fast as they popped up and started using their ‘mafia mentality’ to threaten hard working business people into giving them money for nothing in return. They call themselves a ‘college’, college of what? Are these people actually TRADES PEOPLE??!! What training do they have, did they actually work on job sites and projects before becoming whatever it is that they call themselves now?! Who are they to be able to put someone’s licence (in most cases, someone’s livelihood) on hold or SUSPENDED because this fee that they just decided to implement wasn’t paid on time! This is a joke to ANY respectable trades person! I’m not saying every trades person is respectable, but I’m speaking for the ones who have spent a good portion of their working career being proud of the skills and service they provide. We, as electrical contractors, have enough organizations making sure we’re working safe, abiding by the rules and paying hard earned money to everyone except the ones that SHOULD be getting the money. ESA raises their inspection fees every week or two (which is preposterous considering they aren’t responsible for anything INCLUDING their own inspection verifying the work has been done to their standards which vary depending on what inspector it is, how good/bad of a day they’re having etc.). Maybe I missed the memo, but I would like for someone to explain why we need these organizations?! I realize that they inform people and make everyone more aware of potential dangers, changes in products etc., but do we really need all of these organizations taxing the life out of us every year?! We already have RevCan, wsib, etc, etc……
    What ever happened to being properly trained right from the beginning, being proud of the job that you do and being responsible for the job that you’ve done!
    I apologize for the rant, but as you may be able to tell, there’s an awful lot of things wrong with how business is done nowadays. I’m not alone in my opinion. I’ve spoken to many trades people (electrical as well as plumbers, carpenters, general contractors), everyone shares the opinion that the college of trades is just ANOTHER money grab. They serve no purpose other than scrutinizing hard working people and creating yet ANOTHER yearly charge JUST for someone to operate a business. I’ve heard through the grapevine they were actually formed and put in place by unions. Is this true? As everyone knows, unions have been losing their grip in ontario for a long time due to small businesses (who are the major reasons that ontario continues to thrive and progress). Every time another overhead pops up, another small business is taxed out of business. It’s hard enough to be competitive in today’s market and still make enough to afford a roof over your kids head and put food on the table everyday. We’re a small electrical contracting company and have been in business for 12 years now. I, myself, have been in the trade for 19 years. We pay so much every year just to be able to work. Each time some one else decides to dip their hands into the companies pockets, we ask ourselves if it’s all worth it?! Ontario’s economy would crumble without our entrepreneurial, small business mentality that our province is known for. Our government should keep that in mind every time the next ‘college of trades’ organization decides to rear it’s ugly head. If anything, there should be an organization that is put in place to ASSIST Ontarios contractors. Help US collect overdue amounts owing! Help US find good customers that aren’t trying to take advantage of us! You have every agency possible examining us under a microscope and yet nothing or nobody looking out for us, the ones who actually make this place go round! What if EVERY contractor decided to NOT pay the C.O.T’s yearly cash grab, would they shrivel up and disappear for good?! If so, maybe it’s time we all posse up for the good of small business.

  4. tim gosen says:

    Appreciate the info and input on yet another gov’t ministry that lives off the sweat on our backs – we all just need to work harder so the leeches of society can afford to live better than the ones who pay their way

  5. Avatar photo Alec Caldwell says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments on this, especially yours Ian.

    You’re not ranting, but delivering words based on experience on current wrongs in the industry. OCOT is another duplication, another layer of interference, another pair of hands dipping their greedy hands into the pockets of hard working trades people.

    Your comment “I’ve heard through the grapevine they were actually formed and put in place by unions” These words ring true in my opinion. Look at the board members on the OCOT web site. Their top heavy with union representation, around 75% plus. I believe through OCOT, it’s a tool to allow unions to grow its membership and move in to new sectors, like home renovations and more.

    Union’s membership rank and file mentality is united we stand. Entrepreneurs unfortunately stand individually and when push comes to shove, many don’t turn up to buy a ticket. How can we change this mentality!

    We did our bit on this at CARAHS, as part of the STOP the Trade Tax coalition. Our self employed members turned out and marched carrying our huge banner and air horns right up to the front steps of Queens Park Toronto, demanding the closing of OCOT. We only wish more self employed and trades out there had come along on the day to joined in!

    How do we all band together and cause more change?

  6. Bob says:

    The Ontario College Of Thieves ( OCOT) needs to be closed and arrest all these criminals, posing as legal, using the Ontario legislation as a scape goat. They are showing themselves what they really are, and license trades people either compulsory or not need to get together and finish this disease up on us.

    • TERRY LEWIS says:

      I agree Bob!! They have fallen short on their mandate and their biggest quest is to rob every worker in the Province>

  7. TERRY LEWIS says:

    Over a year or ago, I called OCOT to pay my fees and was advised by their AGENT, “If you are NOT working, you don’t have to pay, just call when you start a job and activate your membership then.” I asked, “when I call will I have to wait on the phone for endless minutes to pay?” She advised what to do to bypass waiting for my call to be answered. (I wrote down all the info that day, time, agent etc. and kept it on file.)
    Well months went by and I picked up a job on a Friday. As it was too late to call OCOT so I submitted my fees over the internet.
    A week later on the jobsite, I was questioned about my OCOT payment and I advised my Superintendent that I did pay. He said it would probably take OCOT a couple weeks to process the payment and not to worry about it.
    Well a couple weeks go by and sure enough, I was called to the jobsite office and advised I would have to leave the job because of NON-PAYMENT to OCOT!!
    With the Supt. there, I called OCOT and spoke to another agent. I explained everything about my previous attempt to pay and the advise and name of the agent I spoke to MONTHS PREVIOUS!! The agent said, “Yes, we have ALL THAT INFO on FILE!!” They agreed that I attempted to pay months previously and they know of what I was advised. They also acknowledged that they had received the payment I had made over the internet BUT I was being FINED the extra amount and TAXES because I DID NOT PAY WHEN I CALLED THE FIRST TIME!!!
    How frigging ridiculous!!! I followed THEIR ADVISE to the letter and then they charged me almost DOUBLE for heeding their advise.
    I had to give them a credit card number for payment that exact moment in the phone OR I WAS TO BE REMOVED FROM SITE AND LOSE MY JOB!!
    As far as I am concerned they are legalised THIEVES!! They are nothing but a cash cow charging tradesmen more than 600% of their normal C. of Q. license fees and are not living up to their mandate!!
    This agency has also become a hotbed of NEPOTISM and FAVOURITISM!! ( check their website for an example and see the list of ‘DIRECTORS’ and you will see the NEPOTISIM. (James Barry Director…one of the first inspectors father!!)

  8. TERRY LEWIS says:

    Oh, I have just read some of the other comments and will add this theory (and facts):
    I do believe OCOT is the brainchild of the Ontario Building Trades Council, which by the way is a hotbed of LIBERAL SUPPORTERS. One of the chief complaints from the OBTC has always been that the Ministry has fallen short on replying to complaints about UNLICENSED people doing the work of LICENSED tradespeople.
    I do believe they suggested to the Provincial Gov’t that they would set up a group to police the work of tradespeople in construction. They would collect the Ministry annual fees for the License’s and submit to the Ministry, adding on “operating” costs to each and every person.
    I think the Ministry jumped on the offer because it was always a headache getting the fees BUT the would tell the PBTC that if they were to police the Building Trades Licences they would have to police ALL TRADES!!
    What a god send for the Provincial Government!! They still get their money and they would NOT have to worry about the policing any longer!!
    Now that brings us to the question, ‘Are these people actually TRADES PEOPLE…?
    Well, I answered that in my previous post. YES, THEY ARE! (The majority come from the Ontario Provincial Building Trades Council! ((Well they did in the beginning)) and most of the ‘inspectors’ were also tradespeople OR “RELATED” to a trades person!’
    From its inception, they are responsible to the policing of Construction Trades but has grown to include many facets, including chefs, barbers, hairstylists, etc.. Now instead of a fee of $60, we now pay over $ 135 per year!!! (I can’t even remember, but I believe the old fees to the Ministry was $60 every THREE YEARS!!)

  9. Joe Greps says:

    I notice their “flattering” Google reviews disappeared….

  10. orlex fiallos says:

    yes i hate that term, it makes me feel threatened, makes me feel less of a person, makes me feel like a piece of meat, NOT a “member” i was forced to join that bullshit that does nothing for me, other than suck my money.

  11. maris malderis says:

    Received my license with Interprovincial Red seal from Alberta in 1983. Cost of renewal for the past 33 years= ZERO. When I made my last Ontario renewal in Dec. 2012 it cost $120. for 3 yrs. Six months latter(Apr.) OCOT said my licence had expired and they now wanted $120. a year to renew. I politely told them where they could stick their renewal fee !! Now that my original Ministry license will expire in Dec.2015. I am going to retire and the OCOT can go and ( too polite to print rest of statement). Almost time to move to another Province.

  12. In regards to all of these comments,as long as we have a Liberal Government in power we do not have a leg to stand on.

  13. Greg Hunter says:

    Rates are so high and why? Who needs who? It should be after 5 years, you don’t pay anymore…. should be lifetime seal. Punishing tradespeople for late, overpriced fees are not the mandate of this department.

  14. Bob says:

    To those wrote the latest comments: That was great, have you ever think for a moment who allow the creation of the OCOT? ( Ontario cashing over trades) Or (Ontario college of thieves)

    Apparently was the ex premier, Mc Guilty,,,, Teacher, and his Liberals cronies, together with some union gurus.

    I believe the OCOT in some situations are in violation of the human rights code, maybe may others to, because no one should be forced to leave his/her work site, or lose his/her job, just the fact of this insane OCOT license, not up to date.

    As long the trades people are certified to do their trade work, should be enough prove of a professional on his/her trade, in the compulsory matter.

    Does not matter what government is in place, if the trades people really want to finish this insane agency, will be a matter of get organized, and with the technology we have today, can be done really fast. Creating an texting account, and protest by the millions.

    Pretesting on front of queens park and all cash caw agencies front doors, until the Liberal government close them all. That may solve the problem.

    The will of the people is much stronger then any government, remember that. Many ways can be used peacefully, to make any government change wrong and insane laws of legislation to serve special groups interests.

    If the actual Ontario Premier talks about transparency, she should act on that, fix what was done wrong or be called a fluke.

    Trades people either compulsory, or not can fix this problem, if get organized in a loud, long and permanent protest, like I mention above.
    No laws can stand if does not serve in democratic levels, if the people don’t want them.

  15. Tamara says:

    I just called the Ontario college of trades today because I haven’t heard from them in awhile. So apparently my license expired in April and now I have to pay their penalty fee to renew my license. They said they sent out a letter in Jan and March. I asked them why they did not try to contact me by email or phone before taking a way my license and they had no response. I’d like to know why there’s a administration fee so high for your license expiring. Also why is there not an expiry on my Ontario licensing card to remind me to renew. I can not make this payment and now don’t know what to do. I asked if there’s anyways to waive the fee because it was an honest mistake and they said that’s just there rules. I am currently waiting to hear back from the manager. Why ask me for my contact information if you aren’t even going to give me a courtesy call to let me know if I don’t pay I will have to pay a renewal fee. I think they do this intentionally to charge people more money and I would also like to know where this money actually goes! I am very upset about this.

    • Avatar photo Steve Payne says:

      Hi Tamara:
      Which already-perfectly-well-regulated-before-the-OCOT-trade are you in?
      Your story is sadly familiar – and our empathy, for what it’s worth.

      • Tamara says:

        I am a hairstylist. I have now called 3 times and have asked to speak with a manager and I have yet to speak with one. They told me I should have known when my membership was expiring because I have always paid in previous years and I keep trying to explain that I was getting a reminder notice and I did not recieve anything this year and I thought it was strange so I decided to call and that when we realized it was because my address was incorrect. I totally understand it is my fault but what about human error. I don’t feel I should be penalized and have to pay a ridiculous fee of $135. I also feel they could have called me to notify me that my card expired. They told me they do there best to help people out but I find that hard to believe. They should issue new cards every year and simply put an expiry on them to try to prevent this from happening. I would like to know where these fees are going? I just sent them an email and have asked for a manager to call me but who knows where that will even get me. I don’t know why everytime I have called no manager is available. When I called today she transferred me to a supervisor when I specifically asked for a manager. I am overly frustrated and do not want to risk working without an active license. I have also asked what will happen if I get caught and they said they don’t know. It’s funny that paying $135 per year gives you a license and if you don’t pay you all of a sudden and not licensed. Thank you for taking the time to respond. I will keep you posted on a response from them, if I even hear back.

        • Adam says:

          same damn thing happened to me today. my problem was I moved two years ago and even though my renewal went fine then and I got my sticker sent to me when I check online today they still had my old address. So whoever’s in my old house must have been getting my notifications.

          But why not do it on email? It’s 2018. Or if they weren’t hearing from me why not contact me via other manners?

          And I can change my name, password, phone number and email address online on their website but not my address.


  16. Tamara says:

    I didn’t even get a call back after I emailed them. I ended up paying my fees after 3 phone calls and still couldn’t speak with a manager. So there goes $270 and then I will also have to pay another $135 in march to renew again. Wonderful isn’t it.

  17. Adam says:

    I moved a couple of years ago and my renewal sticker was sent to me. I found out today that my membership expired a month ago. So I paid ASAP online. It turns out they still had my old address on file. Which is strange because I got my sticker last year and told the guy I was talking to then that I’d moved. So I’d imagine all my notices to pay are sitting in my old houses mailbox?

    But are there some fines I should expect to pay now? I can live with $120 but I don’t want anything more or my employer to have to pay

  18. Butt says:

    Yes i agree with you guys it seems to gold diggers they have put systems everywhere to make money out of hard working professionals pockets i feel like they think you guys make good enough money so we want a part of it.really it sucks people before 2013 dont have to pay and the ones came after they have to pay them and if bychance you forget pay double to these assholes.

  19. Randall Holmes says:

    The College of Trades gives us less than the Ministry of Labour did at many times the cost. After a five-year apprentiship, a six-hour C of Q exam, and 39 years of experianse some clerk is going to take my certificate of qualification away from me! that’s extortion and nothing less.

  20. Marc Ethier says:

    The college of thieves is just a scam anyways, with no benifits for being a member. With no other option if you want to work in Ontario as an Electrician, or other trades. Not to mention the insulting wage of residential electricians.

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