Reform OCAT: Dean report
By Patrick Flannery
Dec. 1, 2015 – The Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities has released the findings of a review of the Ontario College of Trades by former Secretary of Cabinet, Tony Dean. The report calls for the College to carry out internal reviews to eliminate areas of conflict and overlap with Red Seal and the Ontario Labour Relations Board and to look for opportunities to consolidate and/or eliminate some trade classifications. It also recommends parameters for re-evaluating whether trades should be compulsory or voluntary. The report also calls for a “policy-based” approach to enforcement, and recognizes the Ontario Labour Relations Board as the final abritrator on trade matters in the province when OCAT and OLRB policies collide.
The report points to quality of job training, demographic and labour market information, economic impact, demand for skilled trades, experiences from other jurisdictions and general public interest as the factors that should govern journeyman/apprentice ratios in Ontario.
Decisions about the compulsory/voluntary nature of a trade should be taken with a view to the risk of harm to the public that the trade represents, the economic impact of trade regulation, the effect on access to labour, labour mobility, public need and implementation challenges.
Reacting to the report, OCAT Chair, Pat Blackwood, said in a release: “Today, the Ontario College of Trades (the College), along with the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, received Mr. Dean’s recommendations to help address some technical processes that we all agree could benefit from improvement. The College is pleased that Mr. Dean begins his Report by endorsing the College’s mandate, the important role of our Trade Boards, and the valuable work we do on a daily basis to protect the public interest, and modernize and promote the skilled trades in Ontario. We are happy to report that we have already begun to undertake foundational work that aligns with the direction of some of Mr. Dean’s recommendations. Given the complexity and importance of getting it right, the College, with input from our Trade Boards, Divisional Boards and Board of Governors, will work closely with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to develop an implementation strategy that is effective and practical. It is important to note that throughout this process the College has and will continue to fulfill its mandate to protect the public interest, modernize and promote the skilled trades.”
Angelo Cairo, president of the Ontario Glass and Metal Association, said, “Having the College Of Trades will assist the industry in standardizing the trade by offering training and certification across Canada. Being part of a larger program that covers almost all the construction industry ensures that our industry is constantly progressing forward and not being left behind.The OCAT has a governance in place with divisional boards and review panels. Being able to issue certificates of qualifications, offer apprenticeship programs, trade classifications and most important being able to establish the scope for the practice of our trade. As president of the OGMA, I will be looking to work closer with these types of programs to ensure that an Architectural Glass and Metal Technician has the required training in place. This will give employers and the employee the comfort knowing that there workers are able to tackle a diverse and complicated project by being properly trained.”