OCOT and labour reforms urgent, Tory MPP says

Daily Commercial News (Don Wall) /November 7 – The parliamentary assistant to Ontario’s Minister of Labour Laurie Scott said recently the Doug Ford government did not shirk in consultations with stakeholders before it announced Bill 47 on Oct. 23, which will simplify trades apprenticeship ratios and see the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) folded by the end of next year.

And even if some stakeholders felt blindsided by the announcements, Thornhill MPP Gila Martow suggested at a recent construction sector event, it is imperative that the government move quickly to ensure companies looking to invest in Ontario don’t spend their money elsewhere.

“The rules and regulations we are talking about are really red tape, a lot of it, that is hampering business development,” said Martow during an interview while attending the Ontario General Contractors Association safety awards breakfast held in Mississauga Oct. 26.

“Obviously we want as many people as possible to be aware of the initiatives we are working on. I think we all understand how fast we have to work and how desperate we are to get that investment because every day we wait, there are companies looking elsewhere to invest. “Sometimes when moving so quickly, the message has trouble getting out as far and wide as you’d like. I am sure the minister would like to share the message as much as possible.”

Besides the decision to institute a 1:1 journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio across the board for construction trades and to scrap OCOT, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act will stop the certification of compulsory trades, roll back a planned $15 per hour hike to the minimum wage and undo worker benefits and working conditions approved by the previous government.

The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario said it was given no advance warning of the impending moves and the council invited OCOT CEO and registrar George Gritziotis to make a presentation on future College directions at its annual convention in early October.

Ian Cunningham, president of the Council of Ontario Construction Associations, said his council had advocated on workplace scheduling and similar issues with the new government but he knew nothing of the plan to axe OCOT.

Patrick McManus of the Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance said his group had an idea of the government’s direction but not the specifics. Sean Reid of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada said the PCA has had conversations with the Ford administration regularly since it took office.

The previous Liberal government spent 13 months consulting with stakeholders on reforms to OCOT through the Tony Dean review beginning in October 2014 and then it was another 13 months after Dean submitted his report until the reform legislation was passed, in December 2016.

The Ford government, elected in June, marked its first 100 days in office Oct. 6.

Martow commented that with labour, cannabis and education consultations all taking place in recent months, “People have actually joked with me, you are consulting and consulting, are you actually doing any work because it sounds like all you do is consult.

“All I can say is we have had roundtables with businesses in every riding across the province, that we have all done our best, including myself, to invite as many business community stakeholders to those roundtables.

“I would advise anyone who feels they are not getting the messages to let the minister know they’re disappointed and on behalf of the ministry I apologize if they weren’t told of something but on the other hand, that is always the challenge in government.”

OCOT and labour reforms urgent, Tory MPP says

 New economic minister says scrapping Ontario College of Trades is good for business

Global News (Darryn Davis)/November 7 – Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, who took over as Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development after Jim Wilson resigned, made his first appearance in his new role at his home riding on Tuesday.

Smith travelled to a new Belleville subdivision to trumpet the government’s Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act.

Holding his media conference in a partially built home, Smith said the government will eliminate red tape for builders. “A big part of that is ending the Ontario College of Trades, which has been so restrictive.”

Smith said the move will eliminate taxes businesses have to pay to the college. “It was costing businesses to pay a fee to the Ontario College of Trades and really they were getting nothing for that.”

Another component of Bill 47 is an adjustment to the journeyman-to-apprentice ratio. When the bill passes it will be one journeyman to one apprentice. “We’ve got small businesses that want to hire an apprentice but they need three journeymen electricians,” Smith said.

Eric DenOuden, president of Hilden Homes, built the subdivision where the media conference was held.

DenOuden says the move is necessary to address the expected shortage of skilled trades workers.

“We know that we’ve got about 85,000 tradespeople retiring in the next 10 years and they have to be replaced we also know that there’s an increased population and more houses are needed.”

Smith takes over as the portfolio after his predecessor Wilson resigned on Friday. A statement from Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s communications team indicated that Wilson resigned “to seek treatment for addiction issues.”

READ THE REST https://globalnews.ca/news/4636421/scrapping-ontario-college-of-trades-good-for-business

GOOD NEWS, NO INCREASE IN SIMCOE COUNTY EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT CHARGES

Your Board of Directors has been working since the spring 2018 in association with our colleagues at BILD Simcoe Chapter on the proposed increase of the Simcoe County Education Development Charges (EDC).  As initially presented the proposed new charge of $5,050 per residential unit represents a 187% increase over the current charge of $1,759.  The result of our collective efforts the Ministry of Education filed a regulation that amends O. Reg 20/98 which effectively freezes EDC’s at the rates that were in effect on August 31, 2018.  Accordingly, the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board and the Simcoe County District School Board passed their Education Development Charge By-Laws on October 25, 2018 which effectively retains the current rate structure at $1,759 per residential unit.  The Ministry is conducting a review of EDC Policy and we will continue to monitor the situation and keep our membership informed.  This is a significant positive development beneficial to our membership and their customers. 

Business, labour groups split over changes to Ontario apprenticeship system

Globe and Mail (Saira Peesker)/October 28 – Business groups are praising proposed changes to Ontario’s apprenticeships system, saying it will ease labour shortages, but labour advocates say businesses will shift work onto apprenticeships as a way of reducing costs.

The provincial government on Tuesday unveiled the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, a bill that scraps many employment reforms introduced by the previous government. The new law would eliminate paid sick days, freeze the minimum wage for two years and allow companies to pay temporary or part-time workers less than full-time staff doing the same work.

The bill will also change the apprenticeship system. It would increase the ratio of apprentices to trained workers, or journeypersons, allowed on a job. This change affects 33 trades in which apprenticeship ratios are required and set by the Ontario College of Trades after independent reviews that involve industry and public consultations. The bill also proposes eliminating the College of Trades, the regulatory and enforcement body for tradespeople created in 2009.

“There have been persistent challenges in how the skilled trades in Ontario are regulated, the amount of College membership fees that apprentices and journeypersons are subject to and the complexity of the rules,” stated a release from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Stephanie Rea, the ministry’s director of communications, said the bill’s intent is to reduce regulatory burdens on all parties and to encourage more people to become apprentices. The province has promised to release a plan in early 2019 for phasing out the College of Trades.

Business groups such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) applauded the apprenticeship system reforms. They said the changes would make it easier to hire apprentices and address a growing labour shortage.

“For more than a decade, both apprentices and employers alike have been urging the provincial government to remove barriers to apprenticeship training,” Plamen Petkov, CFIB’s vice-president for Ontario, said in a release. “Reducing artificial ratio restrictions, which were eliminated in most other provinces years ago, will allow more young people to enter the trades and pursue a meaningful career.”

Many manufacturing companies have long been asking for these changes, said Ian Howcroft, chief executive of Skills Ontario, a non-profit that promotes trades careers to young people. He said there was “quite a bit of controversy” when the College of Trades was created.

“Many felt it was too unnecessary and bureaucratic while others felt it would professionalize the trades,” he said, noting Skills Ontario doesn’t take a position and will work with whatever structure is in place. “In my personal view, it was off to a rocky start from the beginning … it had a complicated governance structure and it became a partisan issue.”

READ THE REST https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/small-business/talent/article-business-labour-groups-split-over-changes-to-ontario-apprenticeship/

Vic Fedeli: We’ll fix Ontario’s fiscal mess without deep cuts or tax hikes

Financial Post (Guest contributor, Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli)/October 26 – Last month, I had to deliver the sobering news to Ontario families and businesses that the previous government left us with a $15 billion deficit for the year 2018-19.

It’s a difficult number for many people to comprehend, but it signifies an urgent need to address a dilemma that is both fiscal and moral in nature.

Our public debt is a whopping $338 billion. The fourth largest line item in the Ontario government budget remains the interest payments on that debt, currently to the tune of $11.9 billion annually.

Debt-servicing costs are crowding out spending on our cherished public services, not only for our generation, but also for future generations. Our interest payments represent a fifth of our healthcare budget; almost half of our education budget, and nearly $1 billion more than what we spend on post-secondary education and training in this province.

Ontario’s debt amounts to more than $24,000 for every man, woman, and child.

Given the reality of the province’s situation, there are those who suggest the only options before us are deep cuts to public services or tax increases. Both approaches would be unacceptably harmful to Ontario families and businesses.

There is another way — a way that is modest, pragmatic and reasonable.

Premier Doug Ford and our government have said time and again, we believe in efficiencies, not cuts. We believe in investing in our frontline workers. We believe in transforming government by spending smarter, working smarter, and respecting taxpayers’ dollars.

Rather than raising taxes, we can find ways to deliver programs more efficiently and find four cents on the dollar to balance the books without hurting taxpayers. We can fund programs based on evidence and measurable outcomes to make sure Ontarians see value for their money and corresponding improvements in how they receive public services.

Here’s a case in point: OHIP+. Our government fixed the universal program to cover only those who did not have existing prescription drug benefits and to cover any outstanding eligible costs after the private plans are billed. We will save hundreds of millions of taxpayer’s dollars, while ensuring all children and youth under-25 are covered — and this was done without a single job being cut.

Here’s another: the Ontario College of Trades. Created in 2013, the college added another complex, unnecessary layer of rules and bureaucracy for skilled tradespeople. Our government is introducing legislation that, if passed, will wind down the college and modernize the current apprenticeship system, while still enabling the Ministry of Colleges, Universities, and Training and the Ministry of Labour to certify and oversee the trades as they did effectively before the college was established.

Creating a culture of efficiency and innovation will be key to our path to balancing the books. Through our Red Tape Reduction roundtables, our Big Ideas Challenge, and the Planning for Prosperity consultation, we received countless ideas from people across the province on how to make government work better for them. We’ll have more to say on those ideas soon.

In order to address our challenges and start Ontario down a path toward fiscal sustainability, it will take a team effort and a lot of hard work. Everyone across the province will need to pitch in so we can protect our cherished public services for this generation and future generations.

We have a monumental job ahead of us, so we need to focus on modernizing and re-inventing government to work better for taxpayers, and begin the proper management of public finances.

Vic Fedeli: We’ll fix Ontario’s fiscal mess without deep cuts or tax hikes

OREA says a more open real estate bidding process benefits everyone

Global News (Linda Nguyen)/October 28 – When Vanessa Witkowski and her husband were tasked with selling his grandmother’s home, they both knew they didn’t want to do it the traditional way.

What they wanted was to have a more transparent process and to avoid wasting time “playing games” with potential buyers.

So, they decided to put the house up for auction.

“We really didn’t like the traditional process. My husband and I would rather see the home sell to someone that truly loves it and values it, and not just have someone lose out on the bid because of any undisclosed information,” said 47-year-old Witkowski.

The east Toronto home will be posted next month with a starting bid of $650,000 through On The Block, a Toronto-based brokerage that specializes in online real estate auctions.

Currently, in the majority of real estate transactions, interested buyers are asked to submit a bid through a blind offer process not knowing if there are other bids, or what those bids contain.

Through this method in a hot housing market, buyers often can blindly offer more than what they initially planned on spending in hopes of beating their competitor, and sellers often come out on top.

Although Witkowski wants the home to be sold for a fair price, she wanted to ensure all those interested can make serious, informed offers, so she chose to have the house sold in an open, online auction.

In Ontario, realtors are permitted to share the price of a competing offer with another buyer, but only if all parties involved agree to the auction process. Although allowed, the practice is rare, especially in a market where demand still outstrips supply.

The Ontario Real Estate Association, the industry group which represents more than 70,000 realtors, is taking it one step further.

READ THE REST https://globalnews.ca/news/4604712/orea-open-bidding-process/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New condo prices soar, single-family home prices fall in September

  

New condo prices soar, single-family home prices fall in September

Toronto Star (Tess Kalinowski)/October 24 – The price of a new construction single-family home fell 7.1 per cent — about $85,000 — year over year in September to $1.1 million on average. Condo prices, meanwhile, have continued to climb — up 19.4 per cent to $789,643 — an increase of $128,455 in a year.

Although they dominate the new-home market, the number of condo sales was down 20 per cent compared to September 2017 — which is also 20 per cent below the 10-year average for that housing category, according to numbers compiled by Altus Group for the Building and Land Development Association (BILD) on Wednesday.

Overall, the number of new-construction home sales nearly doubled last month to 1,747, compared to 974 in August, a healthier bump than the usual post-summer jump. Condos and stacked town homes accounted for 1,494 of those sales.

The 253 single-family home transactions — detached, semi-detached, townhouses and link homes — fell 28 per cent year-over-year, a 77 per cent decline from the 10-year average.

BILD CEO David Wilkes attributed the stronger month-to-month sales to a “re-awakening of consumer confidence” based in part on the new federal trade pact with the U.S.

He attributed softer single-family home prices to supply and demand.

“We’ve just come through a period of fairly soft demand, so perhaps that’s a reaction from the market to that,” said Wilkes.

The inventory of available condos and stacked town homes rose in September to 8,820 units, about five months’ supply. That includes homes that are complete, those in the pre-construction and construction phases. But a healthy Toronto region market should have nine months’ to a year’s worth of inventory given the population growth in the Toronto region, according to BILD.

That lack of supply is responsible for driving up the cost of condos, narrowing the price gap between those dwellings and single-family homes, said Wilkes.

The inventory of single-family lots rose to 5,132 in September, from 2,607 last year.

https://www.thestar.com/business/real_estate/2018/10/24/new-condo-prices-soar-single-family-home-prices-fall-in-september.html

Business, labour groups split over changes to Ontario apprenticeship system

Globe and Mail (Saira Peesker)/October 28 – Business groups are praising proposed changes to Ontario’s apprenticeships system, saying it will ease labour shortages, but labour advocates say businesses will shift work onto apprenticeships as a way of reducing costs.

The provincial government on Tuesday unveiled the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, a bill that scraps many employment reforms introduced by the previous government. The new law would eliminate paid sick days, freeze the minimum wage for two years and allow companies to pay temporary or part-time workers less than full-time staff doing the same work.

The bill will also change the apprenticeship system. It would increase the ratio of apprentices to trained workers, or journeypersons, allowed on a job. This change affects 33 trades in which apprenticeship ratios are required and set by the Ontario College of Trades after independent reviews that involve industry and public consultations. The bill also proposes eliminating the College of Trades, the regulatory and enforcement body for tradespeople created in 2009.

“There have been persistent challenges in how the skilled trades in Ontario are regulated, the amount of College membership fees that apprentices and journeypersons are subject to and the complexity of the rules,” stated a release from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Stephanie Rea, the ministry’s director of communications, said the bill’s intent is to reduce regulatory burdens on all parties and to encourage more people to become apprentices. The province has promised to release a plan in early 2019 for phasing out the College of Trades.

Business groups such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) applauded the apprenticeship system reforms. They said the changes would make it easier to hire apprentices and address a growing labour shortage.

“For more than a decade, both apprentices and employers alike have been urging the provincial government to remove barriers to apprenticeship training,” Plamen Petkov, CFIB’s vice-president for Ontario, said in a release. “Reducing artificial ratio restrictions, which were eliminated in most other provinces years ago, will allow more young people to enter the trades and pursue a meaningful career.”

Many manufacturing companies have long been asking for these changes, said Ian Howcroft, chief executive of Skills Ontario, a non-profit that promotes trades careers to young people. He said there was “quite a bit of controversy” when the College of Trades was created.

“Many felt it was too unnecessary and bureaucratic while others felt it would professionalize the trades,” he said, noting Skills Ontario doesn’t take a position and will work with whatever structure is in place. “In my personal view, it was off to a rocky start from the beginning … it had a complicated governance structure and it became a partisan issue.”

READ THE REST https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/small-business/talent/article-business-labour-groups-split-over-changes-to-ontario-apprenticeship/

Vic Fedeli: We’ll fix Ontario’s fiscal mess without deep cuts or tax hikes

Financial Post (Guest contributor, Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli)/October 26 – Last month, I had to deliver the sobering news to Ontario families and businesses that the previous government left us with a $15 billion deficit for the year 2018-19.

It’s a difficult number for many people to comprehend, but it signifies an urgent need to address a dilemma that is both fiscal and moral in nature.

Our public debt is a whopping $338 billion. The fourth largest line item in the Ontario government budget remains the interest payments on that debt, currently to the tune of $11.9 billion annually.

Debt-servicing costs are crowding out spending on our cherished public services, not only for our generation, but also for future generations. Our interest payments represent a fifth of our healthcare budget; almost half of our education budget, and nearly $1 billion more than what we spend on post-secondary education and training in this province.

Ontario’s debt amounts to more than $24,000 for every man, woman, and child.

Given the reality of the province’s situation, there are those who suggest the only options before us are deep cuts to public services or tax increases. Both approaches would be unacceptably harmful to Ontario families and businesses.

There is another way — a way that is modest, pragmatic and reasonable.

Premier Doug Ford and our government have said time and again, we believe in efficiencies, not cuts. We believe in investing in our frontline workers. We believe in transforming government by spending smarter, working smarter, and respecting taxpayers’ dollars.

Rather than raising taxes, we can find ways to deliver programs more efficiently and find four cents on the dollar to balance the books without hurting taxpayers. We can fund programs based on evidence and measurable outcomes to make sure Ontarians see value for their money and corresponding improvements in how they receive public services.

Here’s a case in point: OHIP+. Our government fixed the universal program to cover only those who did not have existing prescription drug benefits and to cover any outstanding eligible costs after the private plans are billed. We will save hundreds of millions of taxpayer’s dollars, while ensuring all children and youth under-25 are covered — and this was done without a single job being cut.

Here’s another: the Ontario College of Trades. Created in 2013, the college added another complex, unnecessary layer of rules and bureaucracy for skilled tradespeople. Our government is introducing legislation that, if passed, will wind down the college and modernize the current apprenticeship system, while still enabling the Ministry of Colleges, Universities, and Training and the Ministry of Labour to certify and oversee the trades as they did effectively before the college was established.

Creating a culture of efficiency and innovation will be key to our path to balancing the books. Through our Red Tape Reduction roundtables, our Big Ideas Challenge, and the Planning for Prosperity consultation, we received countless ideas from people across the province on how to make government work better for them. We’ll have more to say on those ideas soon.

In order to address our challenges and start Ontario down a path toward fiscal sustainability, it will take a team effort and a lot of hard work. Everyone across the province will need to pitch in so we can protect our cherished public services for this generation and future generations.

We have a monumental job ahead of us, so we need to focus on modernizing and re-inventing government to work better for taxpayers, and begin the proper management of public finances.

Vic Fedeli: We’ll fix Ontario’s fiscal mess without deep cuts or tax hikes

OREA says a more open real estate bidding process benefits everyone

Global News (Linda Nguyen)/October 28 – When Vanessa Witkowski and her husband were tasked with selling his grandmother’s home, they both knew they didn’t want to do it the traditional way.

What they wanted was to have a more transparent process and to avoid wasting time “playing games” with potential buyers.

So, they decided to put the house up for auction.

“We really didn’t like the traditional process. My husband and I would rather see the home sell to someone that truly loves it and values it, and not just have someone lose out on the bid because of any undisclosed information,” said 47-year-old Witkowski.

The east Toronto home will be posted next month with a starting bid of $650,000 through On The Block, a Toronto-based brokerage that specializes in online real estate auctions.

Currently, in the majority of real estate transactions, interested buyers are asked to submit a bid through a blind offer process not knowing if there are other bids, or what those bids contain.

Through this method in a hot housing market, buyers often can blindly offer more than what they initially planned on spending in hopes of beating their competitor, and sellers often come out on top.

Although Witkowski wants the home to be sold for a fair price, she wanted to ensure all those interested can make serious, informed offers, so she chose to have the house sold in an open, online auction.

In Ontario, realtors are permitted to share the price of a competing offer with another buyer, but only if all parties involved agree to the auction process. Although allowed, the practice is rare, especially in a market where demand still outstrips supply.

The Ontario Real Estate Association, the industry group which represents more than 70,000 realtors, is taking it one step further.

READ THE REST https://globalnews.ca/news/4604712/orea-open-bidding-process/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OHBA is pleased to report that WSIB has significantly lowered premium rates for 2019.

 

Starting this January the premium rate for home builders (RG 764) will decrease from $7.24 for every $100 of a workers income to $4.33, a decrease of 40.2% For all industries, WSIB rates will decline an average of 29.8% next year. This rate decrease is equivalent to a savings of up to $2,694 per worker based on the 2019 maximum earnings ceiling of $92,600. Combined with the 2017 and 2018 rate decrease, these changes will save professional renovators and home builders up to $4,417 next year compared to rate levels in 2016. Visit WSIB for more information on 2019 rates and additional information on their new 2019-2021 Strategic Plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RESCON applauds repeal of Bill 148 and changes to the Ontario College of Trades

Newswire (RESCON)/October 24 – The Residential Construction Council of Ontario looks forward to working with the Doug Ford government to implement the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, which if passed, would remove considerable amounts of red tape and barriers for employers in Ontario’s residential construction industry.

This new legislation also will see the winding down of the Ontario College of Trades, the governing body which oversees apprenticeship in Ontario. This would further cut red tape by removing barriers for both employers to hire workers and workers to find jobs.

The provincial government’s omnibus bill was introduced Tuesday by Jim Wilson, Ontario’sMinister Responsible for Red Tape and Regulatory Burden Reduction. This legislation, if passed, will repeal substantial components of Bill 148 – The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017.

“Bill 148 did not take into account how the residential construction industry operates. This new legislation recognizes residential construction as a unique sector and will alleviate unnecessary burdens on the industry,” said RESCON vice-president Andrew Pariser. “Major issues from Bill 148 included a change in how employers and subcontractors were defined under the act, the introduction of two paid personal emergency leave days, and numerous onerous scheduling and shift requirements which simply did not reflect how Ontario employers build Ontario.”  

RESCON is pleased that the government recognizes the serious implications that Bill 148 had on employers. “The new Making Ontario Open for Business Act will remove the unnecessary and unfair regulations imposed by Bill 148, allowing construction employers to be more efficient and flexible. Ultimately, this will help the Ontario economy and encourage investment in our province.”

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/rescon-applauds-repeal-of-bill-148-and-changes-to-the-ontario-college-of-trades-698434492.html

Colleges Ontario applauds Ford government’s actions to improve skills training

Newswire (Colleges Ontario)/October 23– Measures announced by the Ford government today to improve skills training in the province will go a tremendous way towards producing a more highly qualified workforce, Colleges Ontario said.

“Apprenticeship training in this province is awash in red tape,” said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. “We’re pleased the government is taking serious action to streamline and improve skills training.”

The government announced that it is terminating the Ontario College of Trades – an important step to help close the skills gap that is hurting businesses and industries throughout the province.

The modernization of skills training is long overdue as growing numbers of employers throughout the province are struggling to find qualified people. The Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance reported last year that up to 41 per cent of the employers it surveyed would hire more people if they had the right skills.

Part of the effort to strengthen the workforce must include reforming apprenticeship training.

Ontario’s colleges continue to champion measures to allow more people to enrol in apprenticeship training and to successfully complete their programs. In particular, colleges are encouraging the government to create a one-window application service to apprenticeship training by expanding the provincial application service for college students to include apprentices.

“Ontario can produce more apprentices with the qualifications and expertise to close the skills gap,” Franklin said. “We encourage the government to work on further reforms that will make a huge difference to students and employers.”

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/colleges-ontario-applauds-ford-governments-actions-to-improve-skills-training-698322061.html

Ontario government intends to “wind down” College of Trades

Daily Commercial News/October 23 – The Ontario government intends to “wind down” the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) as “persistent challenges” have become apparent in how the skilled trades in Ontario are regulated, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Merrilee Fullerton stated during an announcement in Scarborough, Ont. Tuesday.

Hurdles have continued to present themselves with College membership fees that apprentices and journeypersons are subject to, a release from the province states, along with the “complexity of the rules apprentices, journeypersons and employers are bound by.”

The proposed reforms are part of the province’s larger Making Ontario Open for Business Act, which, if passed, means the government would “support an orderly transition and ensure continuity of services to employers, workers and apprentices” for the College.

The minister would take charge and control of the College’s board of governors and appoint an administrator to act on her behalf.

“The government intends to develop a replacement model for the regulation of the skilled trades and apprenticeship system in Ontario by early 2019,” the release reads.

It should be noted, the Ministry of Labour will continue to enforce the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

During the announcement, a number of other reforms to the skilled trades system in Ontario were also announced.

Fullerton said since one in five jobs in the next five years will be trades related, numerous changes need to be made when it comes to apprentices and employers.

“The current Ontario apprenticeship system is broken,” she told attendees at Leland Industries Inc., where the event took place, adding the current ratios being implemented and the trade classification system is outdated.

As such, the province is proposing to set all journeyperson to apprentice ratios at one-to-one.

“Ontario’s journeyperson to apprentice ratios likely contribute to the higher costs seen in the construction sector,” the release states. “Setting a single, lower ratio would better align Ontario with other provinces and territories in Canada.”

A moratorium on trade classifications and reclassifications is also being proposed, as the process is

“currently overly burdensome and can affect decisions to hire new staff, as well as companies’ ability to compete in the global marketplace.”

There are currently 133 voluntary and 23 compulsory trades in the province.

BREAKING: Ontario government intends to “wind down” College of Trades

The proposed changes are part of the “Making Ontario Open For Business Act,” which includes measures the government says will reduce red tape and encourage growth in the trades.

Currently, the number of apprentices an employer can train is limited, relative to the number of journeypersons they employ.

For trades subject to these ratios — Ontario’s are among the highest in Canada, the government says — the move to a single, lower ratio would simplify and streamline how employers hire and oversee apprentices.

The legislation would also wind down the Ontario College of Trades — the governing body for skilled trades in the province — and replace it with another model by early 2019.

According to Dunlop, the college is a source of frustration for many in business.

“People would write to me about heavy-handed enforcement decisions, high membership fees and complex rules that were hindering them, either as skilled-trades professionals or as a business as a whole,” she added.

The legislation additionally proposes a moratorium on trade classifications and reclassifications, a system the government argues is overly burdensome and has the potential to affect hiring decisions and hinder the ability of business to compete globally.

Outside of its focus on skilled trades, the proposed act includes several controversial measures that have raised the ire of those advocating for worker protections and improved wages.

Chief among them was a decision to freeze Ontario’s minimum wage at $14 per hour until 2020, rather than raising it to $15 in January, as promised by the former Liberal government.

“No successful business person would ever argue the fact that workers themselves are the bedrock of any successful business or enterprise,” said Warren “Smokey” Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. “To this government, workers are now nothing more than ‘red tape’ and a ‘regulatory burden.’”

https://www.simcoe.com/news-story/8986143-province-moving-to-end-skilled-trades-barriers-simcoe-north-mpp/

“This is a game changer. This will make Ontario a leading jurisdiction in the training of apprentices. This sets Ontario up to be competitive for generations to come. This means our industry will finally have a system in place to close the trades skills gap across Ontario. This means employers can finally bring apprentices into their small businesses and train the next generation of skilled trades workers. This opens thousands of new opportunities for youth, and people looking for new employment opportunities,” says OHBA President Rick Martins, “The one-to-one ratio will enable thousands of home builders and renovators to hire and train new apprentices. Our members are ready and excited to hire and train the next generation of skilled tradespeople.”

“After years of being last in Canada in apprenticeships, Ontario will finally become a competitive training and business jurisdiction — this is the only way to close the skills gap. OHBA is ecstatic to see the Ford government act on this long-standing OHBA recommendation,” remarks Joe Vaccaro, CEO of OHBA. “Ontario will grow by more than 4.3 million people in the next 25 years and with that there will be an overwhelming need for skilled labour in the building and renovation sector. With this new apprenticeship plan, our members are now going to be able to hire and train the skilled workers they need to build the new housing choice and supply for future #homebelievers.”

Release: Yes to New Apprenticeship Ratios!

Ontario release: Ontario’s Government for the People Cutting Red Tape in Order to Help Create and Protect Jobs

https://news.ontario.ca/medg/en/2018/10/ontarios-government-for-the-people-cutting-red-tape-in-order-to-help-create-and-protect-jobs.html

Ontario backgrounder: Open for Business: Modernizing Ontario’s Apprenticeship System

https://news.ontario.ca/maesd/en/2018/10/open-for-business-modernizing-ontarios-apprenticeship-system.html