Ontario to Streamline Apprenticeship TrainingMay 10, 2021
Cornwall Ontario – The Ontario government is introducing new measures to help tradespeople get their certification from one reliable, streamlined destination through a new Crown agency, Skilled Trades Ontario, that would replace the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT).
Under the proposed Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act, Skilled Trades Ontario would become the province’s industry-informed training authority to lead the promotion, research and development of the latest apprenticeship training and curriculum standards. It will also provide a seamless one window experience for client-facing services including apprentice registration, issuance of certificates and renewals, and conduct equivalency assessments all in one place with many services offered digitally.
“Skilled trades workers are the engine of our economy,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “Under the current system, responsibilities are shared between OCOT and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, causing confusion and added burden for people wanting to pursue a career in the skilled trades, which leads to employers struggling to find qualified skilled trades workers. That is why our government is building a skilled trades system that attracts more people into well-paying and meaningful careers that are truly life-changing.”
As recommended by the Skilled Trades Panel’s first report, Ontario will streamline and simplify the apprenticeship system by establishing a new Crown agency. The Ministry will provide system oversight and be responsible for regulatory decisions, financial supports and take on responsibility for compliance and enforcement of the skilled trades, building on existing expertise, best practices and a robust inspector network that is already in place across the province.
“We heard loud and clear from apprentices, journeypersons and employers alike that OCOT is not working,” said Minister McNaughton. “Following our expert Panel’s recommendations, we are taking a thoughtful and measured approach by launching Skilled Trades Ontario, a new agency that will put the trades first.”
These initiatives are part of the government’s Skilled Trades Strategy, which includes reducing the stigma related to a trades career, simplifying the apprenticeship system, and encouraging business participation.
- Data suggests that the need to replace retiring workers is greater for skilled trades workers than for other occupations. In 2016, nearly one in three journeypersons were aged 55 years or older.
- There are 144 skilled trades in Ontario.
- The Skilled Trades Panel includes Michael Sherrard as the Chair, and industry representatives Jason Ottey, Melanie Winter, Shaun Scott and Melissa Young.
- The Skilled Trades Panel is currently consulting on Phase 2 of its mandate, which will focus on classification and training in the trades. Those wishing to take part in the online consultation can visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/skilled-trades-panel-consultations.