Representatives from the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce have just returned from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting hosted by the Muskoka Lakes and Gravenhurst
Chambers of Commerce.
At the conference delegates voted in favour of two policy resolutions put forward by the Peterborough
Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors in the area of skilled trades.
The first was a new resolution entitled “Keeping the Best of the College of Trades in the Wind Down”, which recommended that the government:
In introducing the resolution, President and CEO Stuart Harrison emphasized to the delegates that, “while the opposition to the College of Trades was loud and clear, when it was announced that it would be repatriated into the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, we heard from some of our members about a couple of things they would like to see maintained. For example, having a public registry for skilled trades people allows consumers to know whether the person you called is actually qualified to fix your
plumbing. The companies that play by the rules use trade certifications as a competitive advantage. So, we feel that maintaining a public registry is important.
Secondly, we feel that one of the ways to narrow the skills gap is to have clear pathways for
international skilled trades people. We have a welding school in Peterborough that trains people in the Philippines so that they arrive in Canada as economic immigrants, fully certified as welders able to work in Canada.”
The second was the reintroduction of a resolution originally submitted in 2016 asking that the provincial government:
Board Chair Ben vanVeen, Team vanRahan, Century 21 presented the following reasoning for continuing to have the policy on the books - “while the recent significant changes to the apprenticeship ratios were
welcomed by small businesses across the province, in some cases 1 to 1 still isn't enough. Businesses
in smaller urban and rural communities are telling us that more work needs to be done to address the skills gap. A flexible apprenticeship system is available in other provinces and that should also be the case in Ontario. This resolution offers a way to do that.”
The group also discussed issues around financial literacy, immigration, and infrastructure. The Premier and all opposition parties delivered remarks to the delegates.
Perrin Beatty, President & CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) also provided an update from identifying seven areas (regulation tax regimes, innovation, pharmacare, trade deals and small medium
enterprises) as those they will focus on as we approach the October federal election.