Canadian Contractor

Steve Payne   

Ontario College of Trades undermines federal government's funding of skilled trades, Stop the Trades Tax lobby group says

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Federal politicians are plowing money into skilled trades training. But in Ontario, the McGuinty government decided to force skilled trades people to pay fees to belong to a "College of Trades" that will offer no classes and train no workers whatsover.

The Stop The Trades Tax Campaign warns Ontario’s new trades tax will undermine new federal budget initiatives to support and promote skilled trades. These budget 2013 initiatives, including the Canada Job Grant program, are aimed at easing the growing shortage of skilled labour in Canada.

Under the Canada Job Grant program announced in last week’s budget, employers can get $5,000 in federal funding, which must be matched by $5,000 in provincial funding, to match their own $5,000 commitment to train an unemployed or underemployed worker to do a skilled trades job.  Quebec has, in recent days, announced it will refuse to participate.

In Ontario, the federal government initiatives will be undermined by the mandatory fees being levied on skilled trades by the Ontario College of Trades, says Sean Reid, chair of the Stop the Trades Tax campaign.

“We have a federal government supporting skilled trades through a new job grant program, at the same time the Ontario government is hammering tradespeople and employers with a new trades tax. The two run completely counter. Unless Ontario stops the trades tax it will wind up contributing to Canada’s skilled trades shortage.”


The Ontario College of Trades, which will teach no courses and train no workers, is set to begin mailing $120 fees invoices, which must be paid, under law, to some 157 categories of tradespeople in the province.  In the home improvement industry, this includes electricians, plumbers, sheet metal workers and air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics. Apprentices must pay $60.

“The Ontario government’s new trades tax will drive good people out of skilled trades,” Reid added. “We’re already hearing from tradespeople who’d rather find other work than pay a hefty new trades tax. This new federal initiative will not be able to undo the damage caused by Ontario’s regressive and shortsighted tax on tradespeople.”

To learn more about the Stop the Trades Tax campaign go to


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15 Comments » for Ontario College of Trades undermines federal government's funding of skilled trades, Stop the Trades Tax lobby group says
  1. Where is Kathleen Wynne on this?

    • Steve Payne says:

      She’s had more Open Letters written to her, on the College of Trades, than Dear Abby and Anne Landers received in 50 years. (OK, not THAT many… but lots of people have asked the Liberals, post McGuinty, about this.) We have not seen a public reply from her. Anyone surprised? It was a Liberal initiative in the first place, and she publicized it as a good thing in her newsletter when the legislation to create the OCOT passed in the house.
      It would be surprising to see the Liberals introduce a bill to amend their own legislation. You see, that’s the issue here: the creation of the OCOT was the result of legislation, it’s not a few bureaucrats at a trough who can be fired. This monstrous irritant to hard-working contractors is actually a legally-created institution: it seems that only the Conservatives are seriously interested in ditching it.

  2. greg richardson says:

    Maybe when trades people in this province decide to take a couple of weeks off she will have something to say. I figure it won’t take much more than 3 or 4 hours to bring things to a grinding halt! I for one am getting a little sick of “as I like to label them” glorified welfare recipients, as they do nothing for the benefit of society while drawing an outragious wage, telling me and hard working trades people like myself, we need this, when we don’t. These carp need to remember or realize that wiithout us, you have nothing. Ron Johnson, Bob Guthrie, Tim Armstong and the likes wouldn’t know what a wrench or hammer are if they tripped over one, let alone how to use it!

  3. Donna Bickell says:

    This is just another way for the government to allow workers from other countries to come in and take over the trades, all trades.

  4. Ross Felton says:

    Maybe all the trades people and companies should do a 3 day work stoppage, and have everyone camp out at Queens park. This tax clearly shows how out of touch the Liberal party is with ontarians. Not to mention the fact that they want to work against the federal gov’t in creating more skilled trades people.
    This tax is clearly a money grab because they have spent all the surplus monies they started out with when they first came into power.
    Maybe we should put all the tax fee,s in an account offshore and fight them in court and make them prove that it is a necessary tax that we as tradesmen are going to actually receive something for our hard earned money.

  5. Jeff Stenlund says:

    Unbelievable act once again by our government. I’ve been in this trade for over 15 years and i can honestly say i’m going to let my licence go and am not paying $120 per year for a membership i did not join. What happens when there’s no licensed mechanics? The answer is simple, no apprentices!! You think there’s a shortage of trades people now?

  6. Don Sturm says:

    I’m sorry to hear that your provincial government is doing this to you. This is an extortion tax plain and simple.

    You definately need to join forces with your particular trades contractors association and then the trades all need to unite and form a lobby group and then show the government what happens by way of a united all in force of voters letting them know you will not tolerate this crap!

    Be strong and fight back.

  7. Ronald Blewett says:

    All that is needed is a concerted effort by all the trades people in this province to thumb their noses and not submit any fees to this morally bankrupt organization, and it will suffer the ignominious death it so desperately deserves…no money and perhaps some common sense will be used to move on from this ill advised venture… I have two trades but only one licence which is from Ontario. I have no intention of bowing to this illegitimate money grab. In what world do these people live in. how does my not paying fees make me no longer a good journeyman in my respective two trades.

  8. Donald Kay says:

    Do not send these arrogant —- anything . I wrote return to sender on my letter and mailed it back , I will not submit to this extortion and will work off the books under the table .

  9. Ryan Conner says:

    I relieved one of these letters. I haven’t lived or worked in Ontario for almost a decade. This is taxation without representation for myself and countless others that no longer call Ontario home. I will not be paying into this scam. I am transferring my ticket this week.

  10. Ronald Blewett says:

    As I stated in an earlier post, if you refuse to feed the beast they are either forced to fine every tradesman who is refusing this money grab or some one with some common sense will cut this hydra off now before more money is wasted on the perpetrators of this scam. This morally bankrupt decision and organization is nothing more than a quasi government resting place for more feeders at the trough. As is usual more oversight costs more money and is poorly spent, and certainly does not benefit the consumer or the sheep they are trying to fleece.
    I have two Alberta licences, and three Ontario licences including a Masters licence. If this agenda is pushed I will send in the paper which I am already paying an exorbitant fee to this bunch in Toronto and have received nothing in return for too long, and they wipe their collective butts with it. My Alberta tickets for which I have never paid a fee, in the decades that I have held them and been registered in Alberta, are both Interprovincially sealed so they cannot prevent me from working regardless of their phoning policing. Starve the beast and keep the feet of the mouth breathers in Toronto to the fire. Maybe they will wake up….we can always hope…

  11. Robert Armes says:

    Dear fellow trades people:

    Our once proud, dignified and respected way of life is in grave danger; assaulted from all angles, we’re de-valued, under appreciated, most of us have no pension plan, no benefits, no paid sick days, get sick or injured and your family starves, that’s the reality.

    All three levels of government, their agencies, trade bodies and insurance companies, taxing us to death, force us to pay premiums on policies you won’t collect on and threaten you if you don’t or can’t pay, sending various goons out looking for any excuse to fine us, then claiming it’s for our own good, or we’re not complying somehow.

    Escalating costs and lower job prices due to free enterprise competition, then there are all the unscrupulous jackals that would take advantage, use and abuse us, we are being forced into outlaws, squeezed so tight, there’s nothing left to take.

    By our efforts and hard work, we make life and livelihood possible for everyone else, from the roof over their heads, to the buildings they work in and all of it a main tax base which pays for everything else in society.

    We must organize ourselves, locally, provincially, and federally, take back our dignity, our respect, our way of life, farmers feed cities, but trades people build and maintain them.

    Time to stand up for ourselves, while we still can.

    • Ronald Blewett says:

      I completely agree with you, although I am almost at retirement age my skills are just a little slower not dulled. I do not nor will I ever support this blatant money grab. An all out petitioning of tradespeople needs to be organzed and this whole illegitimate enterprise can be opposed in numbers and scrapped. All these unelected appointees who are nothing more than apparatchiks and world improvers can be sent down the road as well. This is more Liberal fees and regulation, of which we have far too much already. Every time I open my mail these pricks want more money with the excuse being some social service to the public, enough is enough.

  12. marc says:

    I will not pay for this myself, i can deal with a yearly fee but being taxed on top of it almost 16 $ fxxk that my license expired as per my sticker in september 2014 and they want me to pay this year. I will let it go till next year and fight as it is signed and sealed by our ex ministry .

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