Canadian Contractor

Steve Payne   

Readers' Post of the Week: The Ontario College of Trades reminds him of "Florida and cheap land"

Canadian Contractor Auto

Reader Joe Kreps not impressed after doing the math on recent claims by the Ontario College of Trades

Editor’s Note:  We reported last month on the Ontario College of Trades hiring its first 20 “enforcement officers.” We further reported on a published quote from Ron Johnson, the College’s chairman, about how the trades had lacked regulation before the Ontario College of Trades began sending out its invoices to tradespeople this year, providing funding for what Mr. Johnson claims will be a crackdown on unlicensed contractors and the underground economy. Yet the Ontario Ministry of Labour has been checking tradespeople’s credentials for years, with a field force of over 140 construction inspectors who have been told to stop doing that work by April of next year.

These articles received responses from many contractors, including this one from CANADIAN CONTRACTOR reader Joe Greps:

Re: How’s that for ethics from the Ontario College of Trades?

They only have 20 enforcement officers because that’s likely all they can afford.


Officers are members of OPSEU and earn around $70K a year plus benefits and pension, add in auto/travel allowances and you’re looking at likely in the area of $125K each. So 150 of them would cost $19M

Ron Johnson, chair of the Ontario College of Trades, is on record as saying the College has a budget of around $20M, (150 000 compulsory tradesmen at $120 is $18M).

In short, in order to match the current enforcement level offered by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, JUST for construction, would require their entire budget. That leaves nothing for license administration, promotion of trades, legal, building costs (they are on Bay Street), etc.

Think about it:

Ontario is geographically large, has 13.5 million people, 500 000 tradespeople, (150 000 compulsory ). This College claims that for $20M/yr they can address every complaint from bad brake jobs to bad haircuts (compulsory trade complaints MUST be investigated), enforce unlicensed contractors, promote trades, conduct ratio reviews, and administer apprenticeships and trades licensing.

Something about Florida and cheap land comes to mind….


Stories continue below

Print this page

Related Stories

5 Comments » for Readers' Post of the Week: The Ontario College of Trades reminds him of "Florida and cheap land"
  1. harry veenstra says:

    can some one tell me if the Ontario building code requires trades to be licensed?
    I thought you must be to work in Ontario
    unless things have chanced but to work as a plumber on potable water/santiary drains I was always under the belief I need a licence
    if so how come the building inspectors are not forcing the issue-if they would we could forget the college of trades

  2. Jeff Koller says:

    How’s that for ethics? When I was a journalist, we had to check our facts. What a load of unmitigated crap. If Mr. Greps wants to express an opinion of dislike toward the College, fine, but don’t try and pass fiction off as fact. The Ministry of Labour, for one, has never been in the business of checking whether compulsory tradespeople were properly certified. Their focus has always been health and safety. The College of Trades is not about “what’s in it for me as a tradesperson?” It’s about protecting the public interest.

    • Robert Koci says:

      Thanks for your comment.
      You might have a point regarding the MOL. We’ll have to check our facts on that one.
      If the college were only about protecting the public interest, then you can understand why the trades don’t like it. But if they are all about the public interest, why do they pretend to be good for the trades?

    • Joe Greps says:

      Fiction? Perhaps the one that needs to check facts is you.

      Tjhe MOL most certainly does check tradespeople for licencing and I have myself been carded multiple times during my 25 years in the trades.

      As far as my numbers are concerned I will stand by them, if you want facts you can freely review the Colleges recent registrars report at:

      Things you might want to note from it:

      “Sixteen Enforcement Officers have started field related activity throughout the province.” “The budget provides for a second wave of recruiting of additional officers, subject to the College meeting its revenue projections.”

      Revenues from April 8 – May 29 were $2.3M (works out to about $.3M a week or $16M a year)

      Exactly as I called it.

      Other interesting things from the report:

      “The College is required (under Section 25.5 of the Act) to have a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO)”

      They have to contribute $250000 a year to continue with Red Seal exams.

      Prosecution of members requires the College to invest in everything from legal services to evidence lockups.

      Strikes me that $16M has to go a long way, I guess that is opinion but I will make mine clear – there is no way this College can appropriately meet their mandate with their given budget.

  3. Steve Payne says:

    Jeff, thanks for your comment.

    The information that the Ontario Ministry of Labour construction inspectors did indeed have a mandate to check tradespeople’s credentials was confirmed to me by MoL spokesperson Matt Blajer when I wrote the original story about the transition period. The transition of this responsibility to the College of Trades from the MoL is actually stipulated in regulations that were put in force several months ago. To read that story just hit “College of Trades” in our search bar, and you will see the entire story.

    May I ask why you believe strongly that the MoL did not do this work? Perhaps you mean that the MoL inspectors didn’t do very much credentials checking in practicality. Officially, it’s clear from both documents and the MoL spokesperson, it was an MoL job at least on paper.

    Thanks again for your post, much appreciated.

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.