Canadian Contractor

Dean Report recommends changes to Ontario College of Trades

Still ridiculed by some as nothing but a "trades tax," the controversial Ontario College of Trades, founded in 2013, will likely gain strength from bureaucrat Tony Dean's recent report to the government

November 26, 2015
By Steve Payne

When it opened for business in 2013, the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) was opposed by a “Stop the Trades Tax” Coalition which argued that the organization would add little value to our industry while it collected annual fees (currently $135.60 a year) from “compulsory” (forced to join OCOT) tradespeople. Compulsory trades include, at present, electricians, plumbers, sheet metal installers and heating, plumbing and refrigeration mechanics.

OCOT was depicted by more cynical contractors as a political gift/bribe/private envelope to the province’s powerful labour unions. It was predicted by many that carpenters, drywallers, painters, tile-setters, and dozens of their “voluntary” trade brothers and sisters would soon be given compulsory status, too. The most suspicious renovation contractors predicted that soon they would have to sub out almost all their work to OCOT-member trades (read: unions) – or break the law.

At the same time as this kind of fear and loathing clouded the OCOT’s mandate in our industry, the Liberals decided to hire long-standing labour bureaucrat Tony Dean to hear presentations from “stakeholders” about where the OCOT should go from here.

That report is now in. It was delivered to the Ministry of Colleges, Trades and Universities (MCTU) on Nov. 20. You can read the 150-page report here.


While it’s hard to summarize a 150-page report in one sentence, it appears obvious that the Dean Report will provide the government – and the OCOT – with all sorts of ways to ramp up the powers of the OCOT. Currently, only 22 of several hundred trades in the province are  “compulsory.” The OCOT has not been quick to add new ones.

Expect that to change. Decisions on whether a trade should be made compulsory should now be, the Dean Report recommends, referred to a new 5- to 7-person review panel.  Dean recommends the reviewers be appointed by the Minister of Colleges, Trades and Universities (currently Reza Moridi) in conjunction with the OCOT. The report urges that some of those members come from outside the industry.

Before the Dean Report, OCOT officials always argued that the OCOT was great because now each industry was policing itself; the OCOT was not a government agency. OCOT spokespeople repeated this mantra every time the College was criticized as a government bureaucracy with no accountability. Now, if this particular recommendation is followed, a single politician, Moridi (or his successors), will be able to personally decide – with OCOT input – who should be on a panel to judge whether, say the carpentry profession should be a “compulsory” trade. If this all goes through, it’s going to difficult for the OCOT to continue to claim that the trades are regulating themselves.

Not surprisingly, reaction to the Dean Report from various industry groups has been varied.

The Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance, representing 45 employer members, was largely positive – or at least open-minded – saying it “welcomed the opportunity to work with the (MCTU), the (OCOT) and the province’s network of training education institutions to close Ontario’s skills gap.”

The carpenters union (Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario) criticized the Dean Report for slowing down the process (presumably of making their trade compulsory, though they don’t actually state that). The carpenters’ press release says that the Dean recommendations will “inevitably result in yet more delays in protecting the public and tradespeople. Mr. Dean’s recommendation to create a new expert panel outside of the College, to review trade classifications, not only weakens the College by removing one of its core responsibilities, but also creates an unnecessary new organization.”

The Progressive Certified Trades Coalition, on the other hand, said that the report might cause the government to move too quickly. “(We) are united in (our) concern at the government’s decision to move hastily in implementing recommendations contained a review of the Ontario College of Trades. The fact that the government would move unilaterally without discussing the recommendations with stakeholders is troubling considering how wide-ranging Dean’s proposed recommendations are,” said James Hogarth, business manager from the Ontario Pipe Trades Council.



Print this page


14 Comments » for Dean Report recommends changes to Ontario College of Trades
  1. Mark Mitchell says:

    I have read the report, and read comments from various organizations, newspapers, Chambers of commerce, etc. Lots of words, little understanding. Everyone has an opinion, expressed in vague terms, referencing anecdotal evidence, and it all adds up to confusion for the average working guy. Lets just understand one thing. Ocot is an unnecessary organization, an experiment by the govt to try to solve a problem they created with other peoples’ money. Other provinces, and most of the states are just fine having no compulsory trade requirements, and no yearly fees. Do they really think the province will be a better place if tradesmen were babysat by overpaid office workers? Just leave business and the trades alone, the market always sorts itself out, if it didnt, the un-regulated provinces would have collapsed years ago.

    • Metallofu says:

      Problem is Mark, what’s on the horizon.
      It’s called harmonization of the trades. Look out for it.
      It’ll bite all trades across Canada quicker then they could have flashed an eye-lid. If you think that the OCOT has just made Sprinkler and Fire Protection installer into a compulsory trade at a reward for $250,000.00 per year, don’t you think all the remaining trades in this province look appealing? Take Hair-Stylist as a compulsory trade (read Isabelle’s comments below); do you believe that they would really want this to be a compulsory trade? I’m not sure how it would benefit the ones that are “above-board” with their shop etc. But I’m willing to wager a bet they have no need for the OCOT as a whole. Look at the ratio reviews and study them for awhile. You’ll soon discover that they only favour the “stake-holders”. We can invariably put Union in any place you see “stake-holder(s)” or the Liberal party. You get to choose. Unfortunately, the saying, “forewarned is forearmed” doesn’t seem to work in the favour of the trades in general in Ontario. Just ask a trades person who isn’t paying union dues.

  2. Questo says:

    I wonder how much money Mr. Dean got paid to do this elaborated OCOT report?
    The Larebils are a waste of time and money, of curse Mr. Dean will want score positive in order to collect his share.

    The compulsory trades in this province of Ontario apparently are domed, unless they stand against these parasites on their pockets.

    There is no such thing as Democracy in this Province, only pathetic political games on the cost of the public.

  3. Questo says:

    “Under this new regime the role of the [Ontario Labour
    Relations] Board has been eliminated. OCOT inspectors issue
    charges that are prosecuted under the Provincial Offences Act.
    These charges can only be challenged before the provincial
    court, which lacks both the expertise and the jurisdiction to
    interpret compulsory trades restrictions in their proper context,
    Trade unions have no standing to challenge charges or to
    participate in proceedings before the provincial court, even
    where the charges in question fundamentally affect the interest
    of the workers they represent. The provincial court also lacks
    jurisdiction to issue a stay, which unnecessarily threatens the
    stability of construction projects and opens the door to abuse.
    The result is a compulsory trades enforcement regime that lacks
    the required expertise, principled guidance and procedural
    safeguards necessary to ensure its fairness, rationality and
    overall legitimacy.”39

    This above is on Mr. Dean review report, apparently shows the illegality of the OCOT, Bypassing the ORLB, escape the unions lawyers, where some compulsory trades are unionize, and set themselves as a tyranny agency eluding the Provincial courts to, apparently. No one is above the law, so the OCOT can be eliminated in matter of hours, if the trades people really wanted.

    If the RCMP steps in, or the OPP, with a court order, to close their doors for good and lunch a investigation, because they are charging people which are trade certified may or may not have their OCOT bs license up dated. Furthermore, the waste of public money to set this monster up called Ontario collection over trades, its nothing but fraud.

    I can’t believe why at this point the RCMP or the OPP aren’t investigating this none profit agency acting in the false sense of so powerful. No trades people ever voted freely for this agency, so was cooked in secret, and rushed trough legislation, using a pathetic input info. Excellent transparent manners from the Liberal at Queens Park, don’t you think? The Rabbit hole maybe much deeper then we the trades people can imagine. Have we became a target of a economic trade tax malicious act?

    • Mark Mitchell says:

      You make very good points, Questo. I know some tradesmen that have been charged, and ordered off job sites, when the enforcer was tresspassing on private property. The charges were laid illegally, and the kid just paid it, thinking he had no choice. These tickets all need to be taken to court, so a judge can ensure their legality.

  4. Jim says:

    OCT is nothing but another Liberal tax collection scheme which accomplishes nothing to the benefit if its ‘members’. It needs to go NOW!

  5. Matthew Head says:

    Automotive Technicians are also labelled as compulsory under the OCOT. my license jumped from $100 for 3 years to $135/year.
    The OCOT is a massive cash grab on hard working Canadians.

  6. Mike B says:

    I am an Automotive Service Technician. I am also lucky enough to pay this ridiculous yearly fee, to be a member of something I don’t need. I think updating scan tools, hand tools, etc is enough. $60ish every three years was alright but $130 ? No.

  7. Gary says:

    Would you want people untrained to put brakes on your car? This is Mike Harris crap…do you want cement finishers to frame your house?

    • Metallofu says:

      Dear Gary, Truly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. If people choose to have an untrained person put their brakes on their car, ultimately it is their choice. One can buy brakes for any make and model of cars from various suppliers in Canada. Personally, I wouldn’t want it any other way and neither would you if you thought about it well enough. The fact is most people who want to have their brakes done will choose a garage where reputable and capable people will do the work without difficulties for either party. Furthermore, if a “fireman” wants to frame a house or put in structural components, I believe the one paying him or her to do so will take the necessary precautions to have it done correctly; like it has for the last 150 years with little negative impact on anyone. This even though I as a carpenter would rather that he/she at least charge fair rates and not “under-cut” the person (like myself) who makes a living of it. You see, if you want to regulate everything you need to ask what the end result really is. For me, I think you should move to N. Korea if you want to live in that kind of a society. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada and I have been saddened at the lose of my freedom over the years to the point of wanting to hang up my belt, not train any one else in my trade and desiring to move to a different country like the Dominican Republic which is basically like Canada 100 years ago (pertaining to laws and restrictions). So please think about what you state and how it would effect the rest of us in a negative way like the OCOT has been doing since it’s inception. Yours, a disheartened Ontarian

  8. Isabelle says:

    We as hairstylist have tried to fight this so called college of trades and unfortunately have not been successful. All they do is take my 136$ fee so that I can keep my liscence that’s all…..they are a scam and need to be abolished. How can we keep prices low when we get charged through the nose for our liscence. We weren’t told about it. We were notified of payment due or else no liscence. No choice in that matter

  9. Glen Patriquin says:

    I am a trades person.I have worked as an electrician, apparently it is a compulsory trade according to the OCof T.I was never in a trade union. I worked at a large mining complex.There are thousands like me that work in the so called compulsory trades that are not in Trade unions.We are fully qualified trades persons that work in industrial sites , we are not represented by the trade unions. There for the trade unions can not speak for us. If the Ontario College of trades had authority to enter these work sites and charge unqualified workers for working in specific trades , and charging companies for using unqualified persons to do work in the compulsory trades. This organization may be worth participating in. So far I do not see it.

  10. just another cash cow, some says:

    just another cash cow, sting the trades again, it’s the fly boys you should be after, non licensed joy boys undermining our values, doing jobs on the cheap, no w.i.s.b. , liability insurance , and damaging the ethical trade guys and apprentices values , SHAME ON YOU.

  11. Questo says:

    Dear Gary, you miss the concept about the OCOT, got it.

    Every trades person been target with this insane trades tax, are expressing their discontent, and guess what? they are right.

    The OCOT should be charge under the consumers act, calling their services a benefit to the trades people, but in reality its a scam, its a mob style money grab, there is no benefit whatsoever from these corrupted agency.

    Those on the compulsory trades which were already on the grandfather certification level, were force to pay for this trades tax also.

    Apparently, we the compulsory trades people became the attractive bait for the purpose of trades tax to employ a lot of people, producing nothing, and became a parasitic, eluding the politicians to pass legislation to back them up. That can be called abuse of power, from the politicians, and a scam tactic from those which start this OCOT.

    This only can happen, when politicians, apparently have no knowledge what they enter into when get elected.

    How many politicians are certified on political sciences? Economy and investments? and all other issues which our society stands?

    Apparently anyone can became a politician, if get elected, will have a license to screw things up on the cost of the tax payers, allow any bs creations trough legislation, as long they can get eluded, is for a good cause.

    Now we the trades people are paying the price of someone incapacity of detecting a scam on the orison.

    That leaves the issue of WSIB, ECRA, OCOT and many others, which soon, none profit agencies will be the government, why should people vote then.

    How many politicians pay WSIB, do they have liability insurance, what certification they hold to operate as such, do they work 40 hours a week, if not, they can not demand anything from the people, bc in democracy, should be lead by example.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.