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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Open for Business Act, if passed, will also address the backlog in Ontario’s skilled trades by replacing Ontario’s outdated model with a one-to-one journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio for every trade for which ratios apply, thereby better aligning Ontario with other provinces and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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39 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!

    • 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.

  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

  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.

  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

  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?

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