Reactions mixed on Dean Report recommendations
By STAFF REPORTConstruction Health & Safety Skills Development
Ontario adopting changes to College of Trades
Support for the Dean Report on the Ontario College of Trades has been met with mixed reactions from trade associations and unions across the province.
The final recommendations, endorsed by the Ontario government, provides a roadmap to ensure the long-term success of the College, said Joseph Mancinelli, LiUNA International Vice-President and Regional Manager of Central and Eastern Canada Region.
“This report provides a good path forward to ensure that OCOT will work in the public interest and promote the trades in Ontario,” Mancinelli added. “Dean’s recommendations strike the right balance for labour and business in the construction industry,”
LiUNA said the Dean recommendations will have significant positive impacts for trades and the construction industry, including:
- Reforming the classification review process to ensure that decisions on compulsory certification are determined by an independent and evidence-based process with risk of harm as the key factor;
- Creating an appeal mechanism whereby enforcement orders issued by OCOT inspectors can be reviewed by experts at the Ontario Labour Relations Board (“OLRB”), thus reflecting the OLRB’s exclusive legal authority to make determinations on matters where work jurisdiction is dispute;
- Providing the OLRB with the ability to issue a stay on any enforcement order pending the outcome of an appeal.
The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) is also supportive of the direction the report is taking Ontario and clarifying the College’s mandate.
uo;It is a solid step forward,” said Darrel Reid, PCA’s Vice President of Policy and Advocacy. “The report’s recommendations are clearly directed at improving the objectivity and evidence-driven nature of the College’s processes. The hard work of implementing these recommendations now begins, but PCA believes they are a solid start towards clarifying the College’s mandate and its relevance for Ontario’s construction industry.”
The Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario is pleased that the government has once again endorsed and is committed to the College of Trades, but is disappointed the Dean Review recommendations will inevitably result in more delays in protecting the public and tradespeople.
“Mr. Dean’s recommendation to create a new expert panel outside of the College, to review trade classifications, not only weakens the College by removing one of its core responsibilities, but also creates an unnecessary new organization,” said Tony Iannuzzi, Executive Secretary Treasurer of the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario.
“Instead of moving forward with the real issue of ensuring our tradespeople are properly trained; can work safely; and can be relied upon by the public, the government will continue to freeze a key task of the College for at least another year.
“The Carpenters’ Union has been a champion of the College of Trades. We were excited about the possibilities Mr. Dean’s review of the College could have offered, including: consumer protection; safeguarding the publics’ interest and increasing the training and professionalization of the trades. Some of the recommendations, in particular the ones with respect to classification, have left (some of) Ontario’s tradespeople disappointed,” said Iannuzzi.
“The government’s commitment to infrastructure and the building of Ontario should not only just focus on physical structures but should equally focus on building the best trades workforce in the world,” said Iannuzzi. “These recommendations delay the process of creating a compulsory certified trade that ensures formally trained skilled workers are the ones building Ontario up.”
Dean conducted a year-long review of the College of Trades operations that included consultations with several hundred tradespeople, employers and industry and trade boards representing more than 70 trades.
The Ontario College of Trades officially opened for membership on April 8, 2013 and provides members with benefits such as recognition as a skilled-trades professional, enforcement of trade regulations, and a mechanism to ensure public safety through a discipline and complaints process. There are 237,000 active members in the Ontario College of Trades in more than 150 apprenticeable trades, including the construction, industrial, motive power and service sectors.
Ontario will bring forward proposed legislative changes in the spring legislative session and will work closely with the College of Trades to implement the Dean Report recommendations.