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Ontario College of Trades a Barrier to Jobs

PC MPP Garfield Dunlop addresses the
Niagara Home Builders’ Association.

ST. CATHARINES — The direction being taken by the Ontario College of Trades will lead to an over-regulation of hundreds of thousands of skilled trades and create a barrier to employment, especially for young people, PC MPP Garfield Dunlop said while addressing the Niagara Home Builders’ Association (NHBA) at its annual general meeting on October 11. Dunlop, a critic for skilled trades and apprenticeship reform, said when he was given the file by PC party leader Tim Hudak he knew of only some of the issues.
However, he did have a keen interest. A plumber before he entered politics, Dunlop said he was particularly interested in positioning trades as a viable career pursuit for young people, and he hoped the new College of Trades might help in providing opportunities for them.
What Duncan found was the governing body for the province’s apprenticeship and skilled trades system, which has the power to make licensing compulsory, forcing costly fees upon workers and businesses. He has travelled the province since last spring, holding talks, such as the one given to NHBA members, to inform key stakeholders about the coming changes.
Although the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act passed third reading in 2009, it has not yet been implemented. Today there are four certified trades in the residential housing sector: plumbers, electricians, sheet metal workers and crane operators, each paying $60 every three years. Under proposed changes, the fees would jump to $120 per year, Dunlop said, and could see certification requirements for a much broader swath of the skilled trades sector.
The effect, Dunlop said, would see the “jack of all trades” eliminated, creating a scenario whereby 11 tradespeople would be needed to renovate a bathroom. “What will happen is much of this work will move underground,” he said, noting that, “most people aren’t aware of these proposals, as there’s been little consultation with the public.”

Reprinted in part with permission of Mike Zettel and www.NiagaraThisWeek.com. The complete report can be accessed at www.niagarathisweek.com/news/article/1517335.

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