Canadian Contractor

“Setting the record straight” on the Ontario College of Trades

An eloquent defence of all things OCOT by "Trades Person"

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November 9, 2018 by canadiancontractor

Editor’s Comment: Let it never be said that we don’t present a diversity of views from all different levels of government, regulatory agencies and unions.

Friends, it is so disappointing that we as trades people are viewed as school drop outs and therefore not very smart. What is a further disappointment is that comments (about OCOT on this forum) attest to our ignorance of the government. I mean some of us can’t even get the amount we pay OCOT right. (It is $135.60 not $138.50) And although I am a company owner that will benefit tremendously with this plan (to wind down OCOT), I just can’t stand when people resort to untruthfulness to get what they want .

Let me set the record straight.

1. The Ontario College of Trades has absolutely nothing to do with the ratios that were in place (before this recent announcement to reduce them to 1:1). The ratios were actually set back in 2002 by the ones that are now changing them to get the popularity vote – sadly blaming someone else for it.

2. The Ontario College of Trades has nothing to do with the 70 per cent being the required pass on the Red Seal that is currently in effect. This was set by the Ministry of Trades, Colleges and Universities (MCTA) many years prior to the existence of OCOT. Also, the Act that OCOT enforces is the Ontario College of Trades and Apprentices Act (OCTAA) 2009, not OCTAA “2013” – which is, rather, the year that OCOT came into the game.

3. The poor completion rate on the Red Seal, again it has nothing to do with OCOT. MTCU are still – and have always been – the ones that have this on their plate. They never left it to OCOT. And I can honestly believe that if they did, it would have been fixed, or on the way to getting fixed.

4. For those of you that claim that you can’t claim any tools or professional fees on your taxes, again it is sad that you are this ignorant. Please go find yourself a new accountant.

5. OCOT does not and will not shut down any sites, as they do not have the power to do so. These are made up stories, and if they are truthful, than those who allowed it to happen were ignorant and did not know the law. And you know that ignorance is not an excuse to allow someone to break the law.

Speaking as a company owner, I am very happy with the ratio change, I have currently 32 journey persons, that I pay anywhere from $25 to $30 per hour. I will be cutting that in half and get a bunch of apprentices for minimum wage. I should be able to drag them out a bit longer on their program, especially now that OCOT inspectors will not be there.

Now if I was a journey person working for someone else, like I was before, I would be very worried about my job right now.

There are in-fact things, and third party stories I have heard, where certain OCOT Inspectors may have been less professional than what they should have been. But this again falls back on those that experienced it and never said anything to the OCOT managers, giving them the opportunity to deal with these individuals. I mean you will find this in every enforcement agency. They are commonly known as “cop wannabes.”

All I can say to you is that my interaction with OCOT inspectors was always very professional. Reasonableness was always used, as I can even admit that ratios were an issue at my company. And the inspectors were always willing to work with us as long as we were taking steps towards compliance. The inspectors I dealt with were always very professional and helpful, and I feel for their job losses if they are not placed somewhere else.

There are many things being said about OCOT, but I am certain that there are only three kinds of people doing so:

1.  Those that have companies with compliance issues, and do not want to work towards compliance.

2. Those who are upset because the fees went up and who do not want to pay fees of any sort anyway. Some of these were not even paying the $60 prior to OCOT. (I personally know a few.)

3. Those in the underground economy.

Now just ask yourself, who is really going to fully benefit from these changes? Yes, the ones above.

I am (going to benefit) when it comes to the 1:1 ratio, but I am not happy that the three types of people above will benefit from every aspect of it, and it will be a free for all.

With or without OCOT, my business will keep moving. Prior to OCOT the TQA (Trades Qualification and Apprenticeship Act, 1990) was in place with no one to enforce it. All I can say is just be wise and get your facts straight before your start writing comments and saying things that are not truthful, simply to get what you want.

And you do not need an MBA to be truthful.

Trades Person



Canadian Contractor is the independent voice of residential renovators and home builders everywhere in Canada.
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3 Comments » for “Setting the record straight” on the Ontario College of Trades
  1. Mark Mitchell says:

    An obvious planted story by Ocot, or some union BA
    If you are only paying $30/hr and less, and can replace journeymen with first year apprentices I question the actual type of work you are doing. Is it changing lightbulbs? Or replacing toilet seat, Mr Anonymous. LOL

  2. Joel says:

    Parts of this article are just insulting.
    1. – The PC party OF THE DAY set the ratio rules. Doug Ford is not Mike Harris, the same way Ronald Reagan is not Abraham Lincoln.
    2. – I don’t know what your point is about the 70% passing mark is. Do people consider this to be too high? Too low? How the heck is this a problem. If it’s considered to be a tough mark to get, I’d blame that partly on teachers, but also largely on sponsor companies for not properly training their apprentices/not allowing journey people to properly train them.
    4. – Good job telling the people you say aren’t dumb high school dropouts that it’s sad they’re so dumb.
    You’re only right to an extent anyways. The amount that an apprentice can claim is decent, not 100% like it should be, but decent. It’s insulting how little a journey person can actually claim. Of course, this all depends on what trade you’re in. If you can get away with $500 a year, it’s alright. When you have to spend $3000+, it’s a crap deal.
    5. Why are you blaming the victims? Ignorance of the law is no excuse to let someone break the law? Are you KIDDING me? Is this a joke? Now you’re liable for someone else breaking the law? WHAT?`

    See, the problem with fees is that you basically get nothing in return. It’s extortion. If you want to work in this profession, you must pay us, or you don’t legally have the right to practise your profession. The fact that OCOT had millions in reserves, gotten only by charging too much for too little in return. Maybe they had good intentions for it, maybe not, we won’t get to find out now.
    The real problem is you. You say trades people aren’t dumb high school drops outs, and then go on to say they are sad, ignorant people that can be replaced with some inexperienced kid right out of high school for minimum wage.

  3. Rob says:

    Because of the ratio change you will be able to let go of 16 trained professionals and hire 16 untrained people? Hahahahahaha
    Anybody in business knows money is made off of skill not the other way around. Whoever wrote this was not intending real business people to believe it. I’m thinking the whole article is tongue-in-cheek