Tony Dean Review of the Ontario College of Trades - OSWCA Approach
Published on: 23/01/2015
After an extensive opposition campaign around the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) in the lead-up to the 2014 Spring election, Premier Kathleen Wynne committed to
"… appoint a special advisor to review the [Ontario College of Trades’] application process and scope of practice of trades, including how the scope of practice relates to enforcement. We will pause the certification of new compulsory trades during this review."
This campaign promise was a significant victory for the coalition against the OCOT as promised two key coalition “asks”:
1. Review and reform the OCOT operating processes, particularly around scope of work and trade certification; and,
2. Pause any further trade certification reviews until this process has been remedied.
A third “ask” related to reforming the governance structure at OCOT to make it more reflective of the existing labour forces in each sector was not included in the campaign promise, nevertheless, this review provides a real (and final) opportunity to reform the institution into a more fair and transparent body.
After a number of candidates were considered, the Premier’s office appointed Tony Dean (formerly Chaired the Expert Panel Review of Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act, 2010) as the review Chair.
Scope of the Review
• Clarify and improve the manner in which OCOT makes decisions on the scope of practice of trades, including on areas of skills/practice overlap;
• The role of OCOT in developing and administering apprenticeship programs;
• The process for the reclassification of trades as compulsory or voluntary; and,
• The role of the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) in jurisdictional or work assignment disputes;
Mr. Dean has indicated that he will undertake this entire review through the lens of the “public interest.” He also encouraged stakeholders to not limit their comments to what is listed in the scope, but rather to submit a holistic opinion/review of the College.
A final draft of Dean’s report is to be submitted to the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities (MTCU) no later than August 2015. Following delivery of the report, MTCU and OCOT will have the opportunity to review it and provide “factual or editorial comments or corrections” before the report and its recommendations are published.
OSWCA Approach to this Review
It is our opinion that this will be our final opportunity to make any sort of meaningful impact on the existing structure and review processes at the OCOT. It is our intention to have the OCOT and its processes restructure to be more fair and transparent to the construction employer community, particularly around the issues of scope of work/practice enforcement and trade certification.
In order to achieve these goals, we are approaching the OCOT review process from two distinct, but interconnected, angles.
1. Through a coalition of construction employers (OHBA, BILD, OSWCA, ORBA, OGCA, HCAT, RESCON), we have commissioned an economic analysis report on the impact of trade certification to a residential construction site. The report will look at the certification of the general carpentry trade as a case study and detail all of the additional education, training, cost, and regulatory hurdles that will be put into place on a job site if the trade were to be certified as compulsory. The report will specifically look at the impact on the construction labour force in the province (particularly outside of the Greater Toronto Area).
This analysis piece will be used to identify areas in the “public interest” (i.e. cost of construction, timelines for project completion, job creation, labour force mobility, etc) and will guide our overall recommendations and submission to the Dean Review.
2. Through the Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance (formerly the Stop-the-Trades-Tax coalition), we are crafting a submission focussed on the trade certification process and enforcement regime presently being utilized by OCOT. We will identify each area in the process that is presently flawed and make recommendations for how to improve the process, utilizing the trade certification processes from the other Canadian provinces as a guide. The intention of this submission is twofold: 1) to make the case for the need for government oversight (and Ministerial sign-off) of the trade certification process and to “raise the bar” for what is necessary to move a voluntary trade into a compulsory one; and, 2) to eliminate the “duplication of government services” by transferring worksite enforcement back to the Ministry of Labour and decisions on trade jurisdiction and scope of work back to the OLRB.
Upon completion of these reports, we will combine the relevant sections and recommendations into a comprehensive submission to the Dean Panel.
The formal stakeholder consultation process for this review was launched on January 22. Interested stakeholders are now required to prepare submissions that examine and address the pointed questions asked by Mr. Dean in his consultation paper (found at:http://www.deanreview.com/consultation/jan2015guide.pdf). Written submissions are due by Friday, March 13 at 4:00.
Mr. Dean will also undertake oral consultations, though only with those who have made a formal written submission. This consultation process will allow Mr. Dean to ask questions, points of clarification, etc. to those who have made submissions.
Publication of the final report and recommendations is likely to occur before the legislative break for Christmas in December 2015 (based on current scheduling).
Back to the news