Canadian Contractor

Steve Payne   

Ontario College of Trades hires its first enforcers

Canadian Contractor

As of June 6, there will be 20 enforcement officers working for the Ontario College of Trades. They will be hunting for unlicensed, illegal workers in 157 types of skilled trade in the province. Some of them have police backgrounds. Some of them have been hairstylists.

Twenty on the payroll, 130 more to be hired. The Ontario College of Trades (OCOT), the newly-established organization that says it will police (“regulate”) and promote the skilled trades in the province, has hired its first enforcers. (OK, they are technically called “enforcement officers.”)

If you’ve received one of those $120 invoices in the mail, requiring you to join the OCOT, whether you like it or not, at least you know that these 20 enforcers will be hard at work, eliminating your unlicensed competitors and attacking the underground economy. Yes, this tiny group of newly-hired personnel have 157 categories of trades to police in a province that is much bigger than most European countries, but we DO need enforcement, right? At least, that’s the views of the College, which is headquartered on Bay Street in downtown Toronto. Only if you are a “compulsory” trade do you have to join the College. In our industry, until they start adding more trades, the compulsory trades are electricians, plumbers, sheet metal workers and refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics.

If you feel like flipping OCOT’s enforcers the bird, should you see one step onto your jobsite, think again. The College has made it clear that some of the enforcement officers have police backgrounds. And they also have trades backgrounds: they are Red Seal carpenters, sheet metal workers, even hair stylists. That’s right, hair stylists. After all, they are now compulsory Ontario College of Trades members, too. As your own skilled trade will almost certainly be, sooner or later.

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