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For the better part of the last decade, HRAI has heard from contractor members in the residential sector in Ontario about the need for some easing up on apprenticeship ratios.  Under the old, government-managed system, appeals had to be made directly to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU), but, the employers in the industry had a hard time getting the support of the Provincial Advisory Councils (PACs) which oversaw trades training matters.

With the advent of the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT), which opened its doors in 2013, HRAI made a stronger push through the College’s apprenticeship ratio review process, but this effort too failed to achieve the desired result: one-to-one ratios for the residential air conditioning and residential sheet metal installer trades.

The recent change in government in Ontario has created new opportunities to revisit this topic.  The government is seeking ways to lessen the regulatory burden on small businesses and has entered into preliminary discussions about how it can do so. On September 14th, Martin Luymes, HRAI’s VP of Government and Stakeholder Relations, met with senior advisory staff to the Minister of Colleges Trades and Universities Merrilee Fullerton. Staff were keenly interested in hearing about the needs of HVAC contractors and how current ratios are restricting their ability to grow their businesses.

While the government might have an interest in helping to resolve this issue, the reality is that ratios are governed by OCOT, which is meant to be self-governing and at arms-length from the government. The good news is that recent meetings with OCOT have indicated that the College itself is conscious of the need to address the ratios issue in a more progressive fashion. HRAI is hopeful that some additional support among elected MPPs and the Minister responsible will create some pressure to move on this file quickly.

For more information, contact Martin Luymes at 905-602-4700 ext. 235, or email mluymes@hrai.ca.