Canadian Contractor

Interprovincial trades exam in Ontario: 70 per cent minimum pass needs to be lowered

Embrun, ON entrepreneur Marcel Blanchard weighs in on the obstacles to a trades career that Ontario's policies have wrought

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October 19, 2018 by canadiancontractor

Post from Embrun, ON, about our criticisms of Ontario’s apprenticeship system…

It is with great interest that I have read your articles regarding the broken apprenticeship system in Ontario and the super bureaucracy called the Ontario College of Trades. I have worked directly and indirectly with skilled trades for over 40 years and I fully agree with you that it is time to make some fundamental changes to the way apprentices are treated in our great province and abolish the Ontario College of Trades because it is not doing anything good for our young people in the trades. The College is also contributing to the present and future shortage of trades people, not only in urban Ontario but also in the rural areas.

I live in eastern Ontario about a 30 minute drive southeast of Ottawa. We are experiencing the same problems that you have so well described in your articles. A large number of our young people don’t come out of the trade apprenticeship successfully and are expelled from the trades by the College. They are sent directly to the street if they are not able to pass the interprovincial trades exam at 70 per cent mark. We all know that many of the trades people are not good in school and at passing complex exams but they are good at the trades and respected by those they work with for their skills. The provincial trades license that could be obtained at a 60 per cent mark some years ago has been abolished for some reason, surely not by anyone who know about trades, and replaced by an interprovincial trade license that need a 70 per cent mark. That provincial license must be returned to keep our young people in the trades and deal with the skilled trades shortage that harms our economy. An interprovincial trades license is good but it is utilized by a very small percentage of trades persons who want to go and work in another province, which doesn’t help us in Ontario.

Last week, Ms Amanda Simard, MPP for Glengary Prescott-Russell — greatly respected in eastern Ontario — and Ms Caroline Mulroney, Attorney General and Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs, were here in Embrun, for a round table to meet and listen to entrepreneurs and business people in eastern Ontario. The subject of skilled trades and all the problems you have expressed were presented to them by concerned entrepreneurs. The main concerns were the ratio situation and the expulsion of trades people who are not able to pass the interprovincial exams at a mark of 70 per cent. They want the provincial license requiring a 60 per cent mark to be reestablished to keep their good trades people working and their business running. We owe this to our young people who are not necessarily good in school and writing complex exams. The College of Trades has not done anything good for trades people but the College is sure taking a lot of money from them for no value at all. It needs to be abolished and the power given back to the ministries responsible.

All this to say that you have the full support of trades people and contractors in eastern Ontario. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance here in eastern Ontario.


Marcel Blanchard, MBA



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2 Comments » for Interprovincial trades exam in Ontario: 70 per cent minimum pass needs to be lowered
  1. wayne newmarch says:

    75% should always be the minimum The younger people do not get a chance to learn the hands on any more getting material and running for coffee, One instance a young lady had to write the COFq FOUR times and still not knowing any thing except the union rules for working ?

  2. harry veenstra says:

    I want to hire trades people who can pass a test with top marks
    no body wants a guy who just passed his test working on a costly hvac system
    at todays labour rates trades guys better know what they are doing
    way to many are parts replacers and not troubleshooters
    I hear this everyday from people on the streets that contractors are stealing money because they have trades people working who can not
    troubleshoot so they waste time and money
    I know I want my doctor to be top of the class not just passed