Canadian Contractor

Ontario College of Trades boss David Tsubouchi and his misleading letters to the editor

David Tsubouchi's letter to the editor quite clearly implies that the Electrical Safety Authority has never had a mandate to check for unlicensed contractors in Ontario.

December 23, 2014
By Steve Payne
Steve Payne

The PR folks employed at the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) seem to be extremely busy these days sending out “correction” letters to various media outlets, over the signature of chief registrar David Tsubouchi, every time they feel OCOT has been maligned.

The standard letter from Mr. Tsubouchi seems to end the same way every time:

“In order to ensure that the College is able to fulfill its mandate to protect the public interest, it is important that facts be communicated clearly and accurately to the public.”

Well, that’s laudable. Who isn’t in favour of accurate facts?


How then, to explain this giant whopper in Mr. Tsubouchi’s  list of great things that OCOT has achieved over the past 12 months, published as another OCOT “facts-correction” letter in Dec. 23rd’s Haliburton Echo:

Mr. Tsubouchi writes: “For the first time in Ontario, there are enforcement officers checking to ensure that the person who fixes your brakes or wires your home is actually qualified to do the job.”  (Here’s the full letter, in context.)

Seriously? Then what has the province’s Electrical Safety Authority been doing with its time?  They did manage to charge 23 individuals and companies with licensing infractions over the past year, almost as many last year, and the same rate of convictions seems to go back at least a decade – right back to the founding of the ESA, in fact.

It’s disturbing that a lifelong public servant like Mr. Tsubouchi can sign his name to such obvious untruths… and then follow up so glibly with a self-congratulatory statement about telling the truth to the public.


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10 Comments » for Ontario College of Trades boss David Tsubouchi and his misleading letters to the editor
  1. Joe Greps says:

    Funny the guy they charged last month was only because ESA had notified them of their own findings.

    Didn’t stop them from showing up for a photo op and some PR though.


  2. Sounds like they are trying to grab the glory, for lack of the right words and tramp all over the ESA, who have beed doing a great job all these past years.

    Shame on OCOT and if they got this basic info incorrect, what else are they doing wrong that we don’t see! How can we beleive anything out of their mouths.

    Lets keep pushing and close this overspending organization down.

    Thanks for bringing this to our notice Steve and hope other readers share some of their stories about OCOT here.

    Alec Caldwell CARAHS

  3. Metalofu says:

    The unfortunate thing about this letter is that there is more information incorrect in it than correct. Take ratio reviews and lowered ratios for example. Most of the trades are maintaining a “very” archaic ratio (ie carpenter construction) despite the “new and lowered” ratios. On yet another point (old point as it is): how does reclassification of a trade suddenly serve the public any better then in the last 150 years? Moreover, the ESA has mainly prohibited licensed and qualified journeypersons with a Certificate of Qualification in the field/trade of Electrical whom have received their ceritification from the Ontario Ministry of Colleges Training and Universities which the OCOT has incorporated under their umbrella to perform any electrical work in segments of Ontario UNLESS they have a Masters Electrical Certificate (pay a few more hundred dollars a year) and are limited in numbers thereby only increasing the black market unnecessarily. Ooops! I said the bad word (Black Market); it should have been written as underground economy because it is alive and well in Ontario and continues to flourish with the newly formed Ontario College of Trades.

  4. Questo says:

    Hi Metalofu, I am one of those licensing electricians all-ready in the grandfather certification, I didn’t sign with Ecra nor with the OCOT, Those are only parasitic agencies, nothing more.

    I also have a electrical license from Europe, for life, still can go there and work in all the countries belong to the Euro zone, Amazing isn’t it?

    In here Ontario, I give up toward the bullshit our government has done, regarding the trades, on the parasitic money grab agencies, imposing all kind of restrictions
    on people like me which went to school and done all the exams to have our licenses.

    In my view, the Ecra, and OCOT should be lawsuit, together with the Liberals for destroying deliberately our way of life, to serve their cons, using the costumers protection as an umbrella. Anyone without brain fogging can see clear what is going on.

    The great evil and his twin is: the contract and consent, once you sign into these agencies, they have it their way legally, because people give up their free will.

    In Europe, certified electricians and other trades, when finish their jobs, do an inspection, and sign it for, The great bullshit is here, to protect the costumer, really? The government and these agencies, became like the mafia, and treat us certified trades like criminals, they all should be abolished the sooner the better.

    Apparently ESA inspectors aren’t bonded for their inspections, if things got bad, My question is, why? So there is no need for them, simplified, qualified trades people should sign their work and done with it, that’s why there is insurance companies, to cover for any problems.

    As ESA inspectors doing inspection on other electricians, imposing all kinds of licences, are they allowed to do any electrical work on their houses?

    if anyone knows this issue, please let us know.

    House owners are allowed to do their electrical work on their homes without any knowledge of electrical work, as long they call the ESA for electrical permits, but apparently license electricians can’t do their electrical work on their own homes.
    This clear shows what this Proving became, voting for crook politicians unable to see what makes sense.

    Its scandals all over the place, one after the other, two more billion on the hydro meters, what next.

    Merry Christmas to all, in special to Alec, Steve, and all the people at the Contractors magazine, happy new years, best hopes for all of us.

  5. Joe Greps says:

    He had similar nonsense in the KW paper this week as well:

    “At the college’s core is the understanding that it must be tradespeople that make those decisions and it must be tradespeople that set the course for their industry”

    He conveniently neglects to mention that tradespeople have been given no voting process in the operation of the college – just the bill – or that the management of the college has been strictly by appointments from the predictable entrenched interests.

    “During our first year, the college facilitated the first independent, open and transparent review of all 33 journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios. As a result of this open process, which included industry involvement, 14 ratios were reduced, and now all but one ratio begins at 1:1.”

    You don’t get to call yourself independent when you take a $5M handout from the government. As far as open and transparent are concerned – you mean like when you neglected to disclose Bernie Fishbein – chairman of the ratio-review committee – had a prior 20-year working relationship with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union?

    “Of particular importance is the public register on our website,, where members of the public or a business can now check the type of membership a tradesperson holds. It’s an important tool that ensures that the person you hire to fix your brakes or wire your home is certified to do the job.”

    Just not the guy actually renovating your house – they are not compulsory in some kind of bizarre “Tsubouchi logic” that mandates some trades and ignores others.

    “Finally, the college has been working tirelessly to build relationships with industry, local Chambers of Commerce, businesses and skilled trades professionals across the province. Within the past year alone, the college has had more than 150 meetings and events with stakeholders.”

    Oddly light on details, let us know when that actually accomplished something explicit, we wait with bated breath.

  6. Mark Mitchell says:

    Thanks for keeping this OCOT issue in the spotlight, Steve. I find that very few media people understand the issues here. They hear a well known politician strutting his stuff, and just accept the fact that its a good thing. I cringe everytime I hear a radio host mention the college of trades as if its some sort of legitimate organization like the college of physicians, or teachers. As tradespeople, we really haven’t done a very good job informing the public about what an absolute sham this organization is. The college only enforces about 25 out of 170 recognized trades in the province, doesn’t cover home renovations or basically any other “construction workers”, and has no jurisdiction over the most dangerous trades at all. (meaning natural gas, oil, and propane fitters, as well as elevator mechanics) But they have somehow convinced the media that a guy that drills holes and installs fasteners in Coreslab must be a journeyman or apprentice in the trade that will be using his hanger.
    Doesn’t make sense to me. But here you have Tsbuchi, the registrar, and Ron Johnston, the chairman, and who knows how many directors, CEO’s, managers, etc, diving into our wallets telling us how to do our work. They have no construction experience, and a very real lack of understanding of the average construction workers persona. I personally know some great pipefitters that are unable to pass the CofQ in that trade. They are stuck as 5th year apprentices, but very productive on the job-site. OCOT wants them gone.What will become of these men? Welfare? They are going to be replaced by kids that can pass Gr 12 math, but not able to use a pipewrench. That is the major lack of understanding of the trades that the OCOT suits don’t understand.
    Believe me, if they were created to promote and enhance the trades, then the enforcers would be out holding acedemic upgrading classes for the people that are struggling with the exams.

    • Stuck says:

      Mark, I read with much interest your post stating that many 5th yr. apprentices are stuck trying to pass their C of Q. I have a 5th year fitter living with me in that exact situation. Apparently many cannot pass the exam and the COT is of absolutely no help. They only want the $150.00 for the next exam. They seem to have thousands of banked questions and just roll them out willy nilly for the next exam. Most questions don’t bear any resemblance to pre exam courses or red seal practice test papers. What really galls me is that these suits sit back and actually prevent 5th year apprentices from working as they are deemed as not in good standing with the COT as they have not passed their exam. Rather a draconian measure don’t you agree. This seems to me to be a great way to drive the under ground economy. I am currently contacting my local MPP for support but I am skeptical that this avenue will be of much help. It is an absolute shame that in 2015 this government is actively preventing a qualified 5th. year apprentice from plying his trade. Too bad that we have to wait another four years to vote.

  7. Metallofu says:

    Good day people.
    Please be sure you know what you ask for.
    A couple of statements within the previous comments raise very large
    red flags and should have all the readers aware that neither Ontario nor any other province needs or should aspire to have Carpentry, Construction, Renovation, or other aspects of these trades Compulsory.
    If that become the case, we may all desire to live in Russia, China or N. Korea.
    For me, I’ll be moving to Latin America.
    Happy New Year All!

  8. Questo says:

    I have one thing to say to Mr. Tsubounchi, shame on you, on this year 2015, as an ex Ontario attorney general, you should know better in the rule of democracy, free will, free choice, and the pursuing of happiness in this Ontario Province also across the country, called Canada.

    The meetings the OCOT had across this Province, trying to convince trades people, their way of bs, will not work. In my view a bag of ,,,,,,, we all know, should be throw at your faces, those from the OCOT in every meeting.

    Sense when as I am a compulsory trades person and all others, were allowed to make any decision or any free vote for the creation of the parasitic college of traitors?. Its a direct tax on us trades people, its insane, 5 million public money to set this bs up.

    To you Mr. Tsubounchi, the best you should do is quit, if you have at least a little respect for democracy, maybe not, your typical bs is shining on our favor, trades people.

    Stop your bs Mr. Tsubounchi, your are misleading people, face the reality.

    You expressed on you book, you didn’t like what was done to your parents on times of war, apparently you don’t care, exploiting compulsory trades people in the none democratic matter. You and your college are treating us like criminals, just the facto we are compulsory trades people, we all deserve respect for our carries, we all went to schools and pass exams, got it body.

    Apparently serves your wallet well, shame on you, should I send you a mirror?

    You can write as many correction letters to the media, it wouldn’t chance a bit, those remember you, will know where this will lead to it.

    Close this insane college down, make your self an hero

    Apparently the Liberal government in this Province of Ontario abused their powers, passing legislation, to serve their cronies, creating Ecra, OCOT and all others parasitic agencies. These crook Liberals should be forced out of Queens park. Democracy is only at the voting stations, after that enters the rule of enforcement, mandatory, bs all-over the place etc.

    The Liberals are responsible for this mess in our Province, we all shouldn’t forget that.



  9. stewart taylor says:

    The Ontario College of Trades is nothing more than a cash grab.
    Everything is about collecting money so they can pay their overpriced staff.

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