Canadian Contractor


Alberta contractor calls for Red Seal carpenters to stick together, coast to coast

Jamie strongly supports the licensing of all carpenters in Canada

Two years ago,  the Ontario College of Trades moved towards adding carpentry onto their “compulsory” list of trades (i.e., must have carpentry papers). They eventually backed off. Jamie, in Alberta, strongly disagrees with this, as follows…

I am a Red Seal carpenter in Alberta and while I know that this doesn’t automatically make you a good one (I know lots who aren’t) it shows initiative and dedication.

Without certification, anyone and their dog can be a “carpenter.” What this does is give a crack head with a hammer a job they are not qualified to do. And I have to somehow be competitive bidding jobs against them. This drives down the hourly wages that employers are willing to pay. Not being compulsory makes it a cheapened industry lacking respect: most people try to work down prices with carpenters because they know that they can.

This doesn’t happen to compulsory trades because they have a industry standard. Red Seal guys from the East the West need to stick together and make a point of getting what we are worth. What’s the point in going to school and dedicating all that time and money if at the end of the day you aren’t really that much better off?


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3 Comments » for Alberta contractor calls for Red Seal carpenters to stick together, coast to coast
  1. Ray says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Jamie’s position on the matter of Red Seal Carpenters. If there are no barriers to entry or no compulsory qualifications, every jack ass with a pick up truck and a skill saw can call him/herself a Carpenter. That’s not to say there aren’t many competent unlicensed “carpenters”, in the same way there are many well skilled unlicensed people out there doing plumbing and electrical work, often working for cash!

    The simple fact of the matter is that by setting and adhering to a nationally recognized standard of skill, as is the case for other trades, the public will be better served and we’ll raise the bar for our industry. That said, it will be necessary to assist in transitioning those who want to become Red Seal Carpenters and it won’t be easy but being a Carpenter shouldn’t be easy. Being a Carpenter is hard work and something to be proud of.

  2. Mark Mitchell says:

    Don’t get your hopes up Jamie. While certification and completing trade school certainly show dedication, it doesn’t mean you won’t get undercut. I’m a compulsory trade refrigeration mechanic, plus a gas fitter1, plus an oil burner mechanic, plus I have several brazing licences for high pressure refrigeration piping, and I’m constantly being undercut by other companies. We, in central Ontario, are competing against companies that are paying 1990 wages to licensed journeymen. More regulation does not stop this tide of foolishness. There is always someone willing to work cheaper. Its a result of global equalization.

  3. Jamie says:

    I agree 100% it makes no sense that we are left behind in the trades. I have been looking for petitions and posts about this for years, doesn’t seem like anyone cares.

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