Toronto, ON—The Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) will officially transition to the new provincially-operated Skilled Trades Ontario (STO) as of January 2022. The third and final consultation period for providing comment closed on Nov. 29, which focused on minimizing service delivery disruptions as OCOT is transitioned.
The Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) hosted a consultation webinar on Nov. 24 to receive feedback from its members to present to the government in a formal proposal.
The ministry is proposing to maintain key system features of the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act 2009, for the purposes of business continuity and to minimize service delivery disruptions to journeypersons, apprentices, and others in the skilled trades and apprenticeship system, according to the ministry in its proposed regulations document. Instead, the goal is to keep things relatively the same, but improve in specific areas.
Members of the webinar were presented with proposed regulations and had the opportunity to submit answers. The options were “I support,” “I oppose,” and “I need more information.” The results were then taken by HRAI to be submitted as part of the “final comments” sent to the government. The responses were not made available to those in attendance of the webinar and were sent as part of the final comments.
The questions asked to attendees of the webinar were based on several points of interest. This included:
- The new Skilled Trades Ontario system will maintain the one-to-one ratio for apprentice-to-journeyperson as was introduced within the OCOT model.
- Individuals with a provisional certificate of qualification may be granted an extension of 12 months to attain their full certification at the registrar’s discretion. Additionally, those issued a provisional certificate of qualification in a trade would be deemed an apprentice for the purpose of ratios.
- An inspector could not amend or remove an order unless they were satisfied that new facts could potentially impact the compliance order.
- Delegated authorities can give out fines and penalties to contractors without going through courts. The fees for penalties have not been set.
- The notice of contravention must be published within three months after the day on which the deadline expired to request a review (where no review has been applied) or within three months after the day the review was completed.
- Registered training agreements under the Ontario College of Trades system will be recognized to support business continuity and avoid service delivery disruption.
- The new system will continue to exempt individuals enrolled in post-secondary and pre-apprenticeship programs from the minimum age requirement. Additionally, individuals must be at least 16 years old. An alternate academic standard for 37 of the trades has been proposed, which would differ from the general Grade 12 or equivalent academic standard. For example, residential air conditioning systems mechanic (Grade 10), residential sheet metal installer (Grade 10), electrician—construction and domestic (Grade 10), plumber (Grade 10), sheet metal worker (Grade 10), and steamfitter (Grade 10).
- Individuals participating in certain ministry-approved apprenticeship training programs will be able to practice in a compulsory trade. Secondly, apprentices in a trade receiving training and work experience, while participating in a pre-apprenticeship program, will be excluded from being counted as apprentices for the purpose of apprentice-to-journeyperson ratios. Lastly, pre-apprenticeship program participants will be excluded from the public register.
- Individuals with a Québec-issued certificate of qualification will continue to be permitted to perform work in compulsory trades without a valid certificate of qualification or registered training agreement in Ontario.
HRAI intends to meet with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to discuss the ministry hosting a webinar to further explain the shift to Skilled Trades Ontario.