Auto Service World
News   December 21, 2011   by Auto Service World

Ontario College of Trades Chair Takes Hudak to Task

In an open letter, the chair of the Ontario College of Trades, Ron Johnson, has taken Ontario opposition leader Tim Hudak to task over “being determined to be on the wrong side of history.”
“Hudak’s continued suggestion that apprenticeship ratios stand between Ontarians and 200,000 additional jobs is a curious one,” says Johnson. “There are 157 apprentice-able trades in this province that are neatly categorized in four sectors – Construction, Industrial, Motive Power and Service. Only 34 of those 157 trades have apprentice to journeyperson ratios.”
The ratios, says Johnson, are a means to ensure that apprentices are protected and educated in a meaningful way by journeypersons. A 1:1 ratio means that an apprentice would be trained by one journeyperson. A 2:1 ratio means that an apprentice would be trained by two journeypersons.
“While Mr. Hudak’s battle cry has been to impose a 1:1 ratio on all 34 apprentice-able trades, it’s odd to consider that currently 29 of those trades actually start at a 1:1 ratio. In addition, I am curious where the 200,000 number is conjured up from. Perhaps it’s simply a multi-year number that expands upon current apprentice registrations patterns in Ontario?,” Johnson asks.
He goes on to say that while it is important to register apprentices, it is more important to have them finish their apprenticeship and join the trade over the long term.
Johson doesn’t stop there though.
“What is even more puzzling is that in a political environment where “big government” is under fire by conservative administrations across North America, one might wonder why Mr. Hudak continues to encourage ‘big government.'” Johson says the creation of the college takes the burden off government for administering trades.
In early 2012 apprenticeship ratios are set to be reviewed by independent adjudicators. While we are all in favour of progress being made in this area, it will be crucial to look to the College’s membership to set goals. This, says Johnson, is an industry solution to what Hudak thinks government should offer.
“When the ratios are reviewed beginning in 2012, all 34 of these trades will be evaluated by an objective review panel against a process and criteria arrived at during public consultations more than a year ago. The process calls for, and will directly involve those very people who have an interest in such ratios. This process is both robust and transparent, and made by the trades, for the trades – something that a standard imposed by government cannot objectively deliver.
Still, Johnson agrees that change is necessary, but not the kind of change to government direction being put forth by Hudak, which he calls short-sighted and naïve.
“Apprenticeship reform is a very complex issue that requires thoughtful solutions and broad stakeholder input, and the College of Trades is poised to take on this very challenging task. Fifteen second political sound bites simply won’t cut it.”

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