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News   October 23, 2018   by Allan Janssen

Ontario to ‘wind down’ much maligned College of Trades

Fate of the college will be sealed with the passing of the Conservative Party’s “Making Ontario Open for Business Act.”


The Ontario government has announced it will wind down the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT), an institution it describes as “a source of unnecessary and burdensome complexity for skilled trades employment in the province.”

The fate of the college, as well as planned minimum-wage hikes and other employee benefits, will be sealed with the passing of the Conservative Party’s “Making Ontario Open for Business Act.”

The government announced today it will wind OCOT down next year. A new body will be created to deal with some of what the college handled, while other functions will return to the provincial Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities (MCTU).

Further details have not been released.

According to a press release, “The Making Ontario Open for Business Act, if passed, will also address the backlog in Ontario’s skilled trades by replacing Ontario’s outdated model with a one-to-one journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio for every trade for which ratios apply, thereby better aligning Ontario with other provinces and territories.”

OCOT was established in 2009 as a means to administer skilled trade apprentices, enforce licensing requirements, and protect the public from poor workmanship.


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53 Comments » for Ontario to ‘wind down’ much maligned College of Trades
  1. Tom Kelly says:

    This was just a money grab thing like me most older auto tecs quit paying they never done anything for us yet the cost went from 60$ for 3 years to 120.$ every year

    • Mike says:

      Agreed Good riddance to bad rubbish. Too many rules and regulations already. It was destroying the industry here in Ontario. The only benefit was to the unions.

    • Seppo Osala says:

      It was definitely a rip off. The mechanic police first came to my shop with a slip of paper showing me all the power he had! I was contemplating an assault charge or worse! Very unprofessional. I asked him what do I get for my money I pay every year. His response was I can get a deal on insurance! Like what the [**Malicious Adjective Deleted**] do I get without having to spend extra money? He said I don’t get anything so he basically admitted it was money going to support executive salaries in the OCT in Toronto. Finally glad someone had some common sense to get rid of these [**Malicious Adjective Deleted**] money sucking [**Malicious Adjective Deleted**]. Good [**Malicious Adjective Deleted**] riddance!

  2. Lee-Anne says:

    My concern would be that consumers will have very little recourse should it be closed when they have problems with someone in a trade. What will be in place for complaints to be leveled and handled and will they be taken as seriously or simply be dismissed in the interest of being open for business?

    • Steve says:

      You still have all the legal avenues that you always had, small claims court etc. If you question whether the people you are doing business with have the proper credentials, ask for proof! The college of trades was nothing more than a tax on trades-people and did little besides create more bureaucratic jobs. My mechanic licences (310S for automotive, 310T for heavy truck and coach) went from $60/each every three years to $120 all inclusive once a year, in other words…tripled! Apprentices went from $0 to $75/year, pure profit! They weren’t even good a bureaucracy, twice my apprentice paid his annual dues online with his credit card, only to get a notice a couple of months late stating that he had not paid his annual dues and he must “cease working in a regulated trade” until he was paid up! Does that make any sense? Here is a young person, working and paying taxes, contributing to the economy, helping a small business grow and learning a trade that he can count on for a lifetime career…and OCOT demands that he stop working because THEY screwed up! Not only that, but my office manager spent several hours on the phone each time getting the mess straightened out, lost productivity for my business. I for one, will be glad to see it gone! Farewell and good riddance to bad rubbish!

      • Keith M says:

        No you wont. It will resort back to being policed by for example the ministry of transportaion for mechanics and so on. The college was legal extortion. We had to pay to practice our trade. My fees doubled and I got nothing out of it other than big brother over my shoulder. And most of those, poor trades persons who couldnt do the job policing every othere trade out there including thier own.

      • brian says:

        Don’t forget the HST. It’s not $120.
        Secondly the legal system is a barrier to the poor, working class. Just try and file a claim.
        So basically there is no resolution and the MTO enforcement hides their phone number and doesn’t answer it or their emails.

    • Mike says:

      You obviously have no clue about how this was a total waste of resources and Skilled Trades people’s money. There were and are so many institutions already in place to address complaints. They promised better training, better services and al kinds of things for us. Not one thing materialized.

      • Bill says:

        I agree. I was most certainly a cash cow for the liberals and more importanly was supposed to police the industry from poor workmanship and protect trades people from having to compete with non licenced side job hacks with no insurance undercutting prices. They didnt ever follow a honda civic from a supplier or home depot and check his certifications at a jobsite to be sure he was qualified. They only quadroupled the certified techs fees in order to pay for their bad attitudes and protect their own jobs. Try calling there in the afternoon to get assistance. A short voice message aand they hang up. You cant even leave a message. So unprofessional and really a scam. Good riddens

    • Geoff says:

      This was not the function of the college. The Consumers Protection Act will still stand for that.

    • Dave says:

      It worked before, it worked in the ’70s, ’80s OCOT used the excuse that they are here to protect the interest if the public and ” supposedly” help,repair fix and improve all they trades. . . . They did absolutely zilch, nothing to help improve and provide growth.

      What Happened!!! I’ll tell you, they collect hard earned cash on the backs of hard-working Ontario to the tune of 20 million in a reserve fund.

  3. Robert Hutchison says:

    This was just another money grab from the previous government.
    No real advancement was achieved like it was initially thought. We need to renew licenses but going from 60$ every 3yr to 125$ every year is a blatant grab.

  4. Don Dulmage says:

    First skilled trades are NOT minimum wage jobs. Why that is there I dont know. I served on the advisory council for Loyalists Automotive trades program for many years including chairman and taught there as a contractor for 7 years when they needed me. I loved my career as a Auto Mechanic class A . It payed me well and was interesting every single day. To be able to make a good living at a job you love is a privilage. First licensed in 1972 after a full apprenticeship. Also worked at it in Quebec before that. This complication to a system that was working just fine did not help. Any clearing of the path for trades people is a goid thing. As for recourse, how does that work with your doctor who deals only with two models of four colours and no technical changes to those models in 7000 years. And besides it is no problem dealing with recourse through the courts as they were before. This College of Trades did not improve that. It just provided more cost to the system

    • Johnny Electro says:

      Maybe fully read an article before going off lol. The minimum wage had nothing to do with OCOT… although in my specific trade I can tell you thT with the Journeyperson average to Apprentice first year 40% they are actually suppose to be getting less then minimum wage.

  5. David White says:

    Just a money grab, installed by stupid people. When I questioned the increase, was told it would go to make the trade better and protect the public from poor workmanship. So why penalize all mechanics. Why can anyone that does not have a license of any age go to Canadian Tire and buy brake and front end parts to do repair work. You have to have a license to drive a car, but not to fix one. You have to be a certain age to buy booze, and cigarettes ,BUT not to buy car parts and fix them.

    • Mars says:

      So you have license to buy food and cook it, right? Didn’t think so…
      Going to a skilled and licensed trades-person is a choice.

    • Johnny Whathaheck says:

      That’s just silly. People always retain the right to work on their own property. Even electrical and cars.

  6. When College of trades came a knocking I asked for a guideline manual as to refer to it for conduct issues . No manual was ever created , offered and certainly not made available to the tradesmen . It would be like not having a Highway Traffic Act to refer to in motor vehicle operation . I lost my respect for them that day .

  7. Bob Ward says:

    I truly understand everyone’s frustration with OCOT. I took the time to learn more about OCOT’s mandate and how it works. We do need a regulatory body to oversee the trades. I will challenge the people who complain to offer up a solution. Have any of the respondents gone on the OCOT website or reached out to a staff member or enforcement agent? This is where you learn more about what is going on. Yes, the fee increase was huge and it did not sit well with me either but I took the time to talk with the staff and built relationships with them. They were a big help to me only because I asked for help. The one question I have for members is: Where would the trades be today without a governing body? OCOT was formed because of the problems the ministry had with administration. Now it may be going back to them.

    • Parson says:

      I would like to suggest that the owners of the garages pay the college of trades as the mechanics are the reason they make money. I have worked in this industry since 1972 as well and I have done nothing but make them money hand over fist. Don’t get me wrong, I have made money as well but not enough to keep up with the ongoing prices I’ve had to pay for a licience that I worked hard to achieve.

    • Seppo Osala says:

      Are you a Liberal? Sure sound like one of those [**Malicious Adjective Deleted**]

    • Byronkoehn says:

      I been a steamfitter for 15 years and these jokers never once got back to me I called over and over about non licensed people working in my trade left emails calls never once heard back as a paying member. Crap

    • Zack says:

      What help where they to you that’s my question. Please elaborate.

  8. Brent Conway says:

    Good riddance

  9. Chris Palanek says:

    Will we now get the surplus back that they have accumulated and invested for us? We should. That would only be fair. Maybe no licensing costs for the next few years would work. Good riddance to an unnecessary burden and bureaucratic monster.

    • Wasyl says:

      Great idea Mr. Ford you say Ontario is open for business or do you mean the unlicensed business you have just opened the floodgates for all the backyards and unlicensed so-called professionals to work there craft and not even be questioned. And also if you cannot afford $.32 a day to protect your trade against the unlicensed market then get out of the trade and give the work to somebody that cares about it.

      • J Hamilton says:

        Unlicensed business and so-called professionals, in my area, a little north of Belleville ON., when they were formed we had 4 of these shops. Now we have 7 within a 15 mile square. That worked well. I asked an enforcement officer one day about that and was told they needed a lot of proof in order to deal these kind of operations, complainants, some kind of receipt with a name on it of the shop, and on and on to maybe get a warrant to enter the premises for a search. Never get it in most cases so the OCOT did nothing to slow them down. Money GRAB !!

      • Dan Nowell says:

        Do you really think that the backyarders and even guys like me who refused to pay OCOT’s extortion suddenly disappeared after they were created? Get real!

  10. Doug kennedy says:

    It did nothing for the public or trades people . price for trades licenses went up 300.%and for what where did the xtra money go. Ministry training and colleges was fine . If they what to do something help apprenticeship get to school fast and not have to wait for unemployment insurance when they are still technically work just going to school and all trades should be allowed to claim tools needed for there jobs on there income taxes

    • JB says:

      600% increase actually. If late by more than 60 days, it turns into a 1200% increase

    • Rachel says:

      Totally agree, the OCOT has done nothing but take our money and give nothing in return. Created unrealistic, unenforceable rules that have done nothing except make it impossible for trades who want to operate within the rules to make any money. This is literally the only thing I actually agree with Ford on.

  11. I agree it was a cash grab based on the fact that we paid all ot more money and received a lot less service. I came up thru the apprenticeship system and thought it worked fine. I own my own shop and have 4 technicians, 2 are licensed and 2 are apprentice’s.

    We all paid our dues, but didn’t see any benefit from increase, unless you count the ugly certificate they say you need to out up instead of the ones we earned at college, and our proud of

  12. Lee says:

    It was the liberals selling us out and then charging us fees to be allowed to work.

  13. Wasyl says:

    Great idea Mr. Ford you say Ontario is open for business or do you mean the unlicensed business you have just opened the floodgates for all the backyards and unlicensed so-called professionals to work there craft and not even be questioned. And also if you cannot afford $.32 a day to protect your trade against the unlicensed market then get out of the trade and give the work to somebody that cares about it.

  14. David says:

    OCOT is a sham.
    More red tape crap that never did a damn thing for anyone!
    Fees up- check
    Benefits-???
    OCOT=A disgrace and joke!

  15. Bill Duncan says:

    I came through as an apprentice and lead by a Journeyman . He helped pass on the skills and integrity and honour of being a licensed technician . OCT only provided high paid jobs to scrutinize and question , follow up on false accusations by business as well as disgrutmtuled consumers. Ministry of skills and development focused on the success of apprentices and were active and present when needed . So long OCT not sad at all . OCT did not benefit or serve me at all as a multi licensed tradesman of 35 years .

  16. Billy Bob says:

    Not overly worried about the closing of OCOT. The real concern here is the one-to-one apprentice ratio. Creating apprenticeship positions is not creating jobs. Just flooding the market with young less expirenced (and lesser paid) individuals to take jobs away from journeypersons. Good for builders to keep costs down that’s about it. I’m not against apprenticeship. I’m just against Doug Ford dictating how the apprenticeship system should work. Im sure he’s never lifted a screwdriver in his life.

    • JB says:

      1:1 is just fine. Other polices could implemented to account for some of the issues you addressed. Higher ratios are only a benefit to the union.

  17. Steve says:

    College of trade is just a big expense that does nothing to help trades people. I hate it and hope it’s gone soon.

  18. John Bod says:

    So do I have to pay my dues in November? Would be nice to get a bit of clarity.

    • Rob Mack says:

      Well I’m not paying my November Dues until it gets sorted out. We should get some of that $20 million back! Never needed OCOT. There is enough enforcement within each trade already.

  19. JB says:

    People questioning the fee hike forget to realize that when MTCU was in charge everything was heavily subsidized. It’s actually no surprise the fees went up as much as they did. However, they did go overboard with aggressive reinstatement fees. Miss your renewal date by 60 days? Now you’re paying double. Not to mention when they took over the trade equivalency assessments it was a complete nightmare.

    Also, the apprentice ratio was completely [**Malicious Adjective Deleted**]. Made it very difficult for new apprentices and not a single person was able to explain to me why they existed other than to benefit unions.

  20. Allan Janssen Allan Janssen says:

    Why are we talking about ratios? They didn’t apply to our industry anyway.

  21. Nick Pappas says:

    It’s about time,made me so mad every year to pay $120 and got nothing out of it.I’m sure there are some licenced tech’s that know some skilled unlicenced tech’s and some licenced tech’s that should not be in the trade.

  22. Ian says:

    I have been a truck and coach mechanic for four years. Never once has OCOT come to see if I have been receiving the proper training which I have not. I got fired because I failed to pass the c of q within a year. Is this why I pay fees, for ocot to take away my dream job? Who gives them this right and how do I get my job back?

    • Keith M says:

      Sounds like you just need to move on to another shop. As far as the test, if you have learning issues and no I dont mean your “special”, I mean difficulties like I had thier is help to male the test fit your needs. Ask you college that you did your training at. Sounds like they where not the right place anyways.

  23. Keith says:

    The back yarders still survived. The honest jurneymen paid for nothing. Do your reseach and ask for a licenced trades person. Simple, you dont have to go with the first person you contact. And get a reality check, there are more honest tradesman than back yarder. The college? Nothing but a money grab to have tradesman pay twice, taxes and college fees, for what we practiced.

  24. Steve says:

    sorry to say to hear you lost your job Ian, the company may have had no choice, from the time of completing your apprenticeship you have 1 year to obtain your ticket
    failing to obtain your ticket in the required time frame means you are no longer able to work on safety sensitive parts of a vehicle, quite a few companies are now going that route to protect themselves
    The only option for them if they feel you are a valuable employee and they have the ability is to resign you under a different class or give you a leave of absence and allow you to get your ticket and come back
    Some apprentices write 8-10 times prior to obtaining the certification
    all the Best

  25. brian says:

    I had a car in for an SST. It failed cause he revved it to 4K with ebrake on (new rotors, pads, calipers, cables and combi kit).
    It failed because the hood ajar switch was disconnected (hood latch fine)
    And finally because the hood prop rod I provided was not OEM.
    You call this regulation? The piece of paper means nothing.

  26. Rob says:

    About time they are ousted, what a crock this program was. As a member of the MTCU I paid every 3 years $70, for a sticker along comes this cash grab with no benefit to any of the trades, if anything they made it worse giving away work to unskilled people.
    Never once did they help in any matter.

    • awd builder says:

      24 years ago I had a chance to learn beside a CEO of Gray Tool’s Canada, he had his license as a mechanic, first job we did was machine solid bushings for rear leaf springs and explained the reason for doing so I listened to everything he said, second time he taught me why aircraft bolts and safety tie wire worked to hold two piece proformance rotors together and they were built in this manner for replacement cost factor, next job was a engine block he had top fuel dragster shop build up for him, block had rotating assembly in it all ready, no freeze plugs yet, he past me a small box with different size mesh screens, I asked questions about them and he said I quote for all the passage ways and ports in case the engine blew up, it would save as much of the other parts possible from damage, that right there is a 50,000 dollar bottom end and the rest of the parts to go on worth another 40,000 on top, 90,000 dollars, I was in shock, no lie in this statement, anyways I’m now older and I have no license and the mechanics I met over the years turn to me for help and knowledge, I have to laugh at times seeing how far the schooling got them, ( not impressed by their training for a second ) people say mechanics are rip offs, backyard mechanics don’t know what there doing, well if I guy is a backyard mechanic the college of trades in every way screwed them from the license and it’s time to recognize the other perspective you all over looked, well education blinded everyone from teaching yourself much more than offered to you at cost, backyard, mechanics whatever you are doesn’t matter, end of day opinions don’t get reached at any school, show me a degree in opinions 101

  27. Doug says:

    I have been in the automotive service sector for over forty years. For years we were know as “grease monkeys”, not worthy of the minimum wage we earned and looked down upon because we had the nerve to charge money for what we did. Gradually government improved things for us, but not all governments, especially the Tories. But still we managed to gain some respect, that is until the favourite buzz-word of the Tories was rammed down everybody’s throat “cut”, and along with everything that our taxes once paid for we were now learning about “user-fees” and facing cuts in services from government services such as trade licensing and enforcement. Now the dictatorial Ford regime has taken it upon themselves to throw trades into the past and leave them to an underfunded, understaffed ministry which will be unable to service either the trades or the people serviced by those trades. OCOT brought respect to all trades and thought there were some rough patches they gave us and the buying public a place to go when answers were needed. I have been out of the trade, full time, for some time now, but I have gladly paid my membership fee every year and I am sorry to see OCOT being slaughtered at the hands of a government that is typically Tory, cut, cut, cut!!!

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