Building a 21st century workforce is a core component of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s (OCC) five year Emerging Stronger economic agenda for Ontario. Keeping the province’s economy firmly on the path from recovery to growth will require an adaptable and highly skilled labour pool. A modern apprenticeship system and a regulatory climate that is flexible and responsive to labour market needs are crucial factors to achieving this.
In its current form, the Ontario College of Trades (the College) is not positioned to deliver on many elements of its mandate. Over the last year, concerns have mounted over its compulsory membership structure, and the bias inherent to its trade classification review process. Additionally, the implications of expanding the range of compulsory trades have not yet been fully analyzed or adequately debated, and decisions appear to be made without sufficient objective evidence to support outcomes.
In partnership with our network of chambers of commerce and boards of trade throughout the province, we have been leading the conversation about reforming the College since its creation in 2009. In October 2013, we released the report, Caution: Work Ahead, which highlights a number of serious issues facing the College and provides six recommendations that, if implemented, will make the College more responsive to employers’ evolving needs. It is our hope that the review will address the problems identified in our report and remedy some of the larger challenges faced by Ontario’s skilled trades system.