Ontario College of Trades continues to violate Federal privacy laws, electrician argues
Doug Leitch is one of the very few contractors to have closely read the legislation that set up the controversial Ontario College of Trades. The legislation lets the College violate your privacy, and use your own money against your interests, he says.
By Steve Payne
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Electrician Doug Leitch continues to wage war with the bureaucrats at the Ontario College of Trades, as well as the politicans that established this organization that demands you pay them fees, but offers no training, no accountability to you the contractor, and zero democracy (you don’t get to vote for their Board of Directors, of course – they are appointed, oftentimes by people who haven’t had a tool in their hands for pay in their lives).
Doug, of Carleton Place, ON, got so frustrated with government bureaucrats sticking their hands in tradespeoples’ pockets, that last fall he founded the Ontario Contractor and Small Business Association to lobby for contractors’ rights.
Here is what he emailed us last week. Here he expresses concern about how the Ontario College of Trades is violating contractors’ privacy laws as supposedly guaranteed by Federal law (PIPEDA: the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act).
Fee notices are being sent out by the Ontario College of Trades and its enforcement officers recently hired are patrolling the streets under the guise of public safety. I have taken the time to read the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeships Act thoroughly to see what other little gems are concealed within.
Stop the train! I “agree?” When did I agree? With this knowledge, I sent a letter to OCOT requesting my personal information be removed and that only the information mandated by the Act be disclosed on the online public register. We all know that our license number and issue date clearly disclose our age bracket and would be of no use to the general public but could be used for other purposes. The OCOT removed my license number but still maintains information that wasn’t mandated, so I have sent a complaint to the Privacy Office (under the PIPEDA legislation).
Yes, an argument has been made that being a non-profit, PIPEDA will not apply to the College of Trades. However, reading further into the Act you come across C.22 s.42(1)(5) which states that the [OCOT] Registrar may “provide to any person, on payment of a reasonable charge, a copy of any part of the register.” A commercial activity, therefore PIPEDA should apply and I am awaiting a reply from the office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
If you have been listed by the Ontario College of Trades online, personal information about you is now publically available. Anyone can pay the price and buy that information. You no longer have a right to privacy because apparently, “You agree”. So I advise contractors, do not give any information to OCOT other than what they require for you to keep your Certificate of Qualification. This information can be distributed publically to any party for a price, to anyone wanting a listing of tradespersons for whatever reason.
Another gem that you might notice if you read the Act is a list of the objectives of the organization. Apparently, the only official mandate of enforcement is to “receive and investigate complaints against members” and to “address compliance issues” c.22,s.11(1). With reasonable and probable grounds, the Registrar may appoint an investigator to investigate. So as I see it, if they come knocking, ask for the grounds for such investigation or the complaint.
Anger within the OCOT membership continues to grow – anger over fees, privacy, enforcement, governance. The Ontario College of Trades surely doesn’t “give the industry a greater role in governance, certification and training.” Tradespersons have no voice, there is no accountability or transparency and the membership fees we pay to OCOT are being used against us.
To reach Doug Leitch, email him at email@example.com. Or call him at 613.913.2863.