Canadian Contractor

Steve Payne   

Tony Dean, former head of Ontario Public Service, to "review" College of Trades

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What will a man who has risen to the highest-pinnacle of government civil-service bureaucracy recommend, re: the Ontario College of Trades? We are guessing a massive expansion of its mandate. And we guess he will keep the North Korea-like dictatorship of its unelected board of directors.

Editor’s Note: This is an opinion piece.

The Ontario Government has yet again done what most governments do when they get very heavily criticized for a policy – they’ve appointed a “review” through an “advisor.”

The heavy criticism has been from contractors re: The Ontario College of Trades (OCOT). The “College” demands you make payments to it, simply to maintain the C of Q you already earned through another regulatory body, and it is building itself a giant bureaucracy on Bay Street, some of the most expensive real estate in North America, and looking to rope in nearly every trade out there, it appears.

The “review” will be of the Ontario College of Trades “scope of practice,” which means, in English, who should have to join it.  Our prediction: Everyone, over time, in every “trade” in Ontario.


The “advisor” doing the “review” of OCOT is former Birmingham, UK, machine-tool operator Tony Dean, who, in spite of his on-the-tools, blue-collar origins is now one of the most influential bureaucrats/academics in the massive industry-unto-itself that is the Ontario public sector. Dean is the former head of the Ontario Public Service.  We can already predict how he’s going to feel about a quasi-governmental bureaucracy like the OCOT.  He’s going to love it and he’s going to empower it. Right now, four major trades in our industry MUST join OCOT and pay its fees: Electricians, Plumbers, Sheet Metal Workers and HVAC mechanics.

Mr. Dean will be well aware of all those types of trades who have escaped being herded into OCOT’s pen.

Drywallers, tapers, tile and terrazzo workers, roofers, window and door installers, framers, finish carpenters, painters, etc., we believe Mr. Dean wants you.

Here’s the press release from Queen’s Park.

Maybe Mr. Dean will recommend that the College hold open elections to determine who sits on its Board of Directors. Don’t hold your breath.

In her 2014 Plan for Ontario, Premier Kathleen Wynne made a commitment to support the success of the College through the appointment of a special advisor to conduct a review. As a result, Ontario has appointed former Secretary of Cabinet and Head of the Ontario Public Service, Tony Dean, to review key areas of Ontario’s skilled trades system that fall within the mandate of the Ontario College of Trades (the College). Dean will review issues related to the scopes of practice – or type of work performed in a trade, as well as the process for determining whether certification should be compulsory or voluntary to practice a trade.

“As with any new organization — and given its unique mandate — the College has also taken this first year to learn and identify areas for improvement. Based on our own observations, feedback from industry stakeholders and from comments from our first independent trade classification review panel decision, we believe there is an opportunity to improve some of our processes with regards to determining scopes of practice and trade classification reviews,” said the College’s CEO and Registrar David Tsubouchi.

The trade classification review process will be paused during his work but the College will continue to fulfill its mandate while this work is underway. Dean will consult with stakeholders and receive support from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and the College of Trades, but will function independently of both. The appointment begins in October 2014 and will continue for one calendar year. He will then deliver his report to the College of Trades and the ministry. The College will have the opportunity to review his findings and implement key recommendations.

Dean currently teaches at the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto. He advises governments on public service reform and building capacity for policy-making and delivery. In 2010, Dean led an expert panel review of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, and in 2013 completed a governance review of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest pension plans.


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4 Comments » for Tony Dean, former head of Ontario Public Service, to "review" College of Trades
  1. Thanks Steve for your great article here.

    The truth is, this is only a reprieve for a year. At that time the axe will fall, being October 2015 when his report is due.


    Further I wonder how much he’s being paid to do this?

    I hope you get lots of feed back on this. The fight is on to try and stop this organization who plan to stop your working.

  2. sean keane says:

    Well said Alec seems a new post has been created to further bleed the Ontario taxpayer of even more money. I believe it has been reported that the OCOT is already bleeding money and is in a deficit position. As we saw in bill 119 with the mandatory coverage for the construction industry we see here.
    As I stated in an earlier article and this one simply backs it up the Liberals are going to find anyway not to admit they have made mistakes. This Institution called the OCOT was flawed from the get go, rather than admit they were wrong they simply want to force more people to pay in. Not to protect the industry but now to protect and cover up the mistake.
    Much like the WSIB rather than investigate the fraud and mismanagement they force more and more people into the hell they created rather than try to fix the problem. All one needs to do is go to and research the WSIB or the multitude of decisions offered by WSIAT. Where it is clear WSIB has been caught over and over again acting as they have. Even after being told they are wrong over and over again they continue to inflict the same damage on their innocent victims.
    Its far past the time our politicians act and stop allowing these corporations to operate with impunity. As you stated in an earlier article when discussing these entities with a retired police officer, finding that if a private sector business tried any of this they would be nailed to the wall.
    Where does the OPP or even RCMP stand on some of these issue’s. Legislation is supposed to be for the people, to protect from wrong’s that may affect the safety of its people not created to enable and protect crown corporations and bureaucrat’s .

  3. Mark Mitchell says:

    I’m so relieved that another unqualified “suit” has been appointed to oversee all the other clueless suits at OCOT. Again and again these well heeled policy makers are making decisions about peoples lives and livelihood that they have no idea how they work. OCOT uses the same buzzwords, about industry consultation, and membership advantages, when the only industry they consult is the construction unions and management from large construction companies. Their “consulting” would take on a different shape if they asked questions of actual tradesmen, construction workers, and small to medium contractors of all types. We hate excess regulation. Just ask any HVAC or electrical contractor how many lic he must hold, and how many regulators he has to pay to legitimately stay in business. A licensed electrician is not allowed to run his own business unless he pays ESA a head tax. Same for a Gas Fitter, who must prove to TSSA that he is worthy of obtaining a contractors lic before he is allowed to work for himself. Then he must pay them every year, so they can hire someone to make sure he has paid them. How did we let these parasites get so much power? We were working, and too tired to follow every news article, and provincial Bill, that came along. Now we are getting shafted again, and OCOT is reaping the rewards of our labour. This consultant will dream up a whole new way of shafting all the rest of you guys, and untill we all put our tools down and stop working for these a-wipes, they won’t get the message.

  4. Joe Greps says:

    Ontario College of Trades posting on Workopolis for more Enforcement Officers.

    $47.41 an hour.

    Fair wage for honest work right?


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