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As HRAI reported on May 1st, the Ontario Government introduced legislation in April to fill the gap left by the elimination of the Ontario College of Trades. The legislation was introduced as one part of the Provincial budget implementation act (Bill 100), along with 60 other new or amended statutes.

Along with the rest of Bill 100, the “Modernizing the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2019,” passed third reading and is now law. As previously reported, the Act is strictly “enabling legislation,” whose main purpose is to create new regulatory powers for the government – in this case the Minister of Training Colleges and Universities -- without spelling out how those powers will be implemented.  However, the government gave some clear hints on where it intends to go with the regulations when it announced the passage of the Act on May 31st.

A news release entitled “Building a Skilled Workforce with Portable Skill Sets” provides an outline of a new approach focused on flexibility and portability of skills.  The new system will allow apprentices to “train in the exact skills that an employer or job requires. They can also choose to continue their training for the full trade or in other skills at a later time.”

The government announcement includes a condemnation of the current training and apprenticeship system (most recently under the Ontario College of Trades) as a restrictive and burdensome system where

Ontario's tradespeople are required to master the full scope of a trade to complete an apprenticeship and obtain certification. For example, to be certified as a general carpenter (403A), an apprentice is required to complete 7,200 hours of training, made up of 6,480 on-the-job and 720 in-class, and train in all aspects of the trade. Once the apprenticeship training is complete, individuals must write and pass the trade's Certificate of Qualification exam to become a certified journeyperson.

In contrast, the new system will encourage a more flexible application of work restrictions:

The portable skill sets model will provide flexibility to apprentices. An apprentice could get experience and training for skills the labour market needs immediately. Portable skill sets will also offer wider employment opportunities to apprentices and skilled tradespeople. There are many trades where skills are transferable from one whole trade to another - for example, the general carpenter, construction boilermaker, and sheet metal worker trades all include the skill of erecting and dismantling scaffolding.

As previously reported, this new system will take some time to roll out.  There will be an extensive consultation process with industry that will feed into the process of writing new regulations.  Many of the key administrative functions will remain with OCOT until the new regulatory framework is finalized, and OCOT will not be fully dismantled until that process is complete.

HRAI will be actively engaged with the Ministry in the months ahead and will be facilitating discussions with industry to feed into the yet-to-be defined Ministerial consultation process.

For more information, contact Martin Luymes at 1-800-267-2231 ext. 235 or email mluymes@hrai.ca