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Another Blow for College of Trades

Ontarios College of Trades

The province of Ontario’s College of Trades (COT) continues to collect opposition, this time from the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA).

The first inklings of the OGCA’s possible opposition came last week when the organization’s president, Clive Thurston, resigned from the college’s Roster of Adjudicators. Thurston said at the time that his decision to step down was personal in nature.

Now, the organization he heads has withdrawn its support, saying in a release that the OGCA has reached out to the COT but arguing that the college continues to “steer a course that is contrary to the best interests of workers, employers and the Ontario economy.”

In the release, Thurston said the college has shown nothing to suggest it is keeping with its mandated goal of conducting research regarding trades.

“It begs the question and leaves us all wondering just how we will have fair and intelligent discussions on things like ratios and compulsory trades if there is no empirical data being collected or researched,” Thurston said.

Several industry groups have already expressed their displeasure with the COT, with the OGCA the latest to lend its name to a growing groundswell of opposition.

Clive Thurston“College of Trade leaders continue to deny there is a problem despite industry associations representing the trades and the companies which employ them, stepping up and raising concerns. We can no longer sit idly by and let this continue,” Thurston said.

The COT was formed following a provincial Compulsory Certification Review, also known as the Armstrong Report, which was released in May, 2008. While the COT was created to promote trades-based labour through advocacy, training and research and empowerment of those in the field, the OGCA now says the college is doing nothing to draw more young men and women into the trades or provide support for tradespeople.

The OGCA is also opposed to fees outlined for workers under the college.

“This tax will be on top of what they already pay as licensed trades with no foreseeable benefit from the College,” Thurston said.

While the OGCA is now opposed to the College of Trades, the organization still supports the notion of a body that would provide support to tradespeople. It has called for a new solution that accomplishes the goals the OGCA posits the COT has failed to address.

“Whereas the College of Trades has not acted to produce research and promote the trades, the overall goal is to replace the College of Trades with an industry-made solution to promote trades in Ontario,” the organization said in its statement.

By Mark Schafer
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