ECAO Supports Ontario College of Trades

Once again your ECAO played a lead role in re-forming the Coalition of Compulsory Trades in Construction (CCTC).  This group then met with the Chairman of the Board at the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT), Ron Johnson, along with their CEO, Bob Guthrie.  Subsequently the CCTC also met with Bob Onyschuk, the new Director of Regulation Enforcement at OCOT, to become better aware of the facts surrounding OCOTs initialization.  Ultimately the CCTC and OCOT formed an alliance to exchange information and opinions between the compulsory trades in construction and the new College.  The members of the CCTC, although critical of the slow release of information by OCOT, now have a solid communications mechanism in place and have gained knowledge to dispel much of the negative rumours and misinformation.

Having the compulsory trades as the initial members of OCOT will demonstrate the values associated with self-determination of training needs, content, delivery and performance.  OCOT empowers the trades to improve competency, address upgrading requirements, improve worker safety, and to self-regulate.  No longer just recognized as tradespersons but trade professionals!

OCOT will stand among other self-regulating professional colleges like the College of Teachers, the College of Physicians and Surgeons or the College of Nurses and help change attitudes among educators, parents and youth regarding a professional career as a highly skilled journeyperson.

It is our industry who best knows its manpower requirements and training needs. Consulting with, rather than being controlled by, the federal and provincial governments on the allocation of training resources should be openly embraced.  However, as was recommended in the Drummond report, we also strongly support that to be successful, all aspects of apprenticeship administration must be transferred to and controlled by the trades through OCOT.  This is not yet the case.

OCOT will be member, not tax payer, funded.  The only mandatory members of OCOT initially will be the members of the compulsory trades.  Employers are not required to become members but each entire firm may join OCOT for the cost of one membership.  Mailings have recently gone out to all registered compulsory tradespersons explaining their dues responsibilities as of April 8th.  In addition to their included licensing fees, effectively for $10 a month ($120/year) members will now benefit from the ability to determine and resolve their own issues.  Issues such as: defining trade training content, broadening the diversity of trade participation, mobilizing against the underground economy, improving apprenticeship completion rates, enforcement of training regulations, and many others will be directly addressed.

A direct example of OCOT at work for the electrical trades is the upcoming ratio review for Construction and Maintenance Electricians (including Domestic and Rural) along with ratio review for Powerline Technicians.  Your ECAO joined with the IBEWCCO to make joint written recommendations for both and will have delegates present at the panel hearings.  In the case of Powerline Technicians we advocated for no change to the existing ratios while in the case of Construction and Maintenance Electricians we advocated a compromise amendment outlined in the chart below:


Current and Proposed Ratio for Construction and Maintenance Electricians (309A)
No. of Journerypersons No. of Apprentices Allowed
  Current Proposed
1 1 1
2 2 2
3 2 3
4 2 4
5 3 4
6 3 4
7 3 5
8 4 5
  For every 3 journeypersons after the 8th journeyperson, 1 additional apprentice  
9 4 5
10 4 5
    For every 3 journeypersons after the 10th journeyperson, 1 additional apprentice


A 3 person ratio review panel appointed from the Roster of Adjudicators consists of:


1.  Bernie Fishbein

2.  J. Richard Thomas

3.  George McMenemy


The panel hearing is scheduled for May 23rd.  This may prove to be an interesting debate as over 291 submissions were received regarding ratios for Construction and Maintenance Electricians.  The findings of this panel are binding for the next 4 years and will be published, along with explanations for the decision, on OCOTs website.  Examples of decisions already made for other trades are already posted.

Once the entire new Act is proclaimed on April the 8th the doors to OCOT will be officially open and it will become self-funded.  This is an exciting opportunity for all of us.

Our industry has long asked for self-regulation and stronger regulation enforcement.  We want more control and will benefit from a strong and effective College of Trades.  ECAO supports the Ontario College of Trades! 


Scott MacIvor

SCOMAC Facilitators