On October 23, the Government of Ontario announced Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 which includes changes to Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, and improvements to Ontario’s apprenticeship system.
These changes will help businesses in Peterborough continue to grow and reduce some of the regulatory burden added with the implementation of Bill 148.
For the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, the new apprenticeship ratio regime and the winding down of the Ontario College of Trades are welcome.
Over the past number of years we have consistently heard from our members how these two issues around the skilled trades are holding back business, particularly small business in urban/rural areas such as Peterborough.
What's Changing in Skilled Trades
ADVOCACY WIN: All Apprenticeship ratios will be 1:1
Ontario’s current journeyperson-to-apprenticeship ratios make it difficult for employers to fulfill high levels of demand for skilled tradespeople, as they struggle to recruit sufficient journeypersons to hire additional apprentices.
This has resulted in young tradespeople struggling to work the hours necessary to complete their training, limiting the number of certified tradespeople produced each year.
The government’s announcement to lower these ratios to 1:1 across all trades will make it easier for apprentices to become certified and for businesses to fill skills shortages and complete projects.
This will be especially important for smaller urban and rural communities, where the pool of journeypersons is typically much smaller.
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce has been asking for this type of movement on apprenticeship ratios for a number of years. While we are still looking for more flexibility for our smaller urban/rural areas this is a positive start. Read our policy resolution.
Dissolution of the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT)
Since its establishment in 2009, the OCOT has become overly focused on enforcement and regulation, limiting its ability to serve the public interest by attracting and training new tradespeople.
The government has announced that it will be dissolving the OCOT and uploading its responsibilities to the Ministry of Labour, something that the Chamber Network advocated for in our Blueprint Letters to Cabinet Ministers.
Dissolving the College is an important first step in modernizing Ontario’s apprenticeship system and developing a stronger, more competitive workforce.
Moratorium on Trades Classification
The Chamber Network is also in support of the government’s decision to place a moratorium on trades classification and re-classification, which will reduce hiring-related burdens and improve business competitiveness.