A new provincial agency has recently been created and it is raising concern within the construction sector.
According to its mandate, the College of Trades has been created to issue licences and certificates, set standards for training and certification, and support apprenticeship and certification policies.
Trades sectors across the province are concerned with the potential impact of the agency.
Karen Renkema, the Ontario Road Builders’ Association Director of Government Relations, has a concern over the transparency and accountability of the college and said there is little information being shared with stakeholders.
“There is a direct interest in the college to expand the number of compulsory trades because that would increase the membership of the college,” said Renkema.. “That would increase the funding of the college by having the majority of the members on both the board of governors and the divisional board representing either compulsory trades or those that are in favour of compulsory trades.”
Ron Bergeron, President of Bergeron Electric is equally concerned.
“This agency has already targeted 22 compulsory trades and that includes hair stylists and most of the automotive sector,” he said. “There are a total of 135 additional trades that could be declared compulsory and the tradespeople in each of the sectors will be forced to pay an annual fee and their employers will be even harder hit.”
The Seaway Valley Construction & Trades Association and the local chapter of the Ontario Electrical League have scheduled a meeting of Cornwall area stakeholders to inform them of what is potentially in store and have asked the Chamber of Commerce to assist in coordinating the event.
This initial meeting is specific to members of the Construction & Trades Association, the Electrical League and the chamber. It will be held on Wednesday, at the Best Western Parkway at 7 p.m. Those with memberships in the above noted organization may register by telephoning 613-933-4004.