As part of the plan to strengthen their economy and infrastructure, the province of Ontario, together with its College of Trades, will work on legislation next spring that will implement recommendations made by former Secretary of Cabinet, Tony Dean, to advance and update the skilled trades sector. Dean’s recommendations were presented in a report titled “Supporting a Strong and Sustainable Ontario College of Trades.”
Ontario believes that supporting the skilled trades is the answer to a strong and vibrant economy. Based on that belief, the Ontario government has committed itself to developing and deploying the skilled trades sector, devoting considerable effort and funding to building their citizens’ skills and the public infrastructure as well as creating an environment in which businesses can thrive.
Dean expressed his gratitude to officials of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, and the College of Trades, for their support over the past year saying, “It was a privilege to take on this review and to hear from so many people and organizations around the province.” Dean also expressed hope that his suggestions and guidelines would make the College of Trades a stronger and more viable institution and that implementation of his findings will create a better economy for Ontario.
In addition to implementing Dean’s proposals, The Ontario College of Trades has committed to spending $176 million to support skilled trades apprenticeships in fiscal year 2015-16.
The recommendations in Dean’s study, which will soon be fashioned into law, were derived from information and ideas gathered from consultations with hundreds of tradespeople and employers and industry and trade boards from more than 70 skilled professions. Among those recommendations are plans to
- Modernize existing trade boards and to more clearly define their spheres of influence and methodologies.
- Review the classification system for trades using an information-based, independent approach with “risk-of-harm” as its primary tenet.
- Implement a more objective process with measurable benchmarks for moving from journeyman to apprentice to professional.
- Create a governing board and appeal process that addresses problems and potential controversies sooner, serving the public wellbeing and its interests first and foremost.
The recommendations for the College of Trades seek to strengthen and improve its ability to promote Ontario’s skilled tradespeople, thereby improving Ontario’s economy in a sustainable way that will have lasting implications long into the future. The proposed legislation also includes making a significant investment in Ontario’s infrastructure, the largest in its history.