|New Ontario College of Trades to oversee all skilled trades|
|News - Collision Repair|
|Thursday, 12 July 2012 14:00|
By Caitlin Choi
Toronto, Ontario -- July 12, 2012 -- The Ontario College of Trades, the first of its kind in North America, and maybe in the world, may soon govern all skilled trades across the province.
According to the college's website, the government recognized the sector’s expertise and established the college, placing decision-making in the hands of those that understand the issues and feel the impact of those decisions on their jobs and in their businesses. By doing this, they are attempting to give the industry a greater role in governance, certification and training, to help secure a more prosperous future for the trades and the province.
The College of Trades is not a training institution, as a community or trade school is. It is a regulatory body, similar to the College of Teachers, the College of Nurses or the College of Physicians and will operate at arm’s-length from the government. The College of Trades will be responsible to regulate persons in the trades and those who employ them. Although the idea of a governing body for trades was introduced into Legislature in 2009, the college won’t actually be operational until late this year or early next.
Marilyn Tousaw, owner of National Automotive in Prescott, Ontario, said she can conceive of both positive and negative effects that the change may have on her business.
“I do honestly feel the less things the government has their fingers in the better,” said Tousaw. She added that, on the other hand, the industry could certainly use the boost. “This industry is shrinking rapidly… I think that anything that can be done to promote the trades is a good thing.”
One concern Tousaw has is about the compulsory membership fee that funds the college. She’s currently not in favour of the extra cost.
“With the kids coming in from school, they can’t produce the same as an already registered technician,” she said, addressing the pressures of financing growth within the industry. “So we’re putting ourselves out by hiring an apprentice. We know we’ll lose a certain amount of proceeds, so a fee will only further the loss. It would all depend on the success of the program and the actual amount of the fee.”
According to the college, membership fees are yet to be decided on, but collection will be implemented in a phased-in approach. In preparation, staff members proposed annual fees ranging from $50 to $100 for an apprentice or tradesworker, $100 to $200 for a journeyperson (certified tradesperson), and $100 to $600 for companies, depending on number of employees. They say the personal fees are the lowest for any regulatory college in Ontario.
Insurance Bureau of Canada Consumer and Industry Relations Manager Pete Karageorgos said the planned college for skilled trades could mean gains for collision repair consumers.
“It’s too early to tell,” he said. “But I’m hopeful it means they [the consumers] can be more confident knowing that someone has worked towards these levels of professionalism and are meeting specific standards and have professional development and education that would warrant them being a member of a college.
“The concept is that anyone who completes the requirements set out by the college is likely to benefit, not just themselves but also for the comfort level of consumers, which includes insurers and the like, knowing that they’ve kept a certain professional standard.”
One thing Karageorgos insists is that success is in part predicated on the organization’s willingness to remain accountable to its members. He asks the question, “If there are any concerns, any queries made, will they be reviewing complaints against the college? That’s another basic function that we would expect them to perform.”
Via their website, the college's board accepted submissions of complaint which were then reviewed and assessed. The board along with ollege staff looked at approximately 80 submissions and subsequently made a few amendments to the regulations. Rob Johnson, governors’ board chair, said they have tried to provide the necessary information in cases where adjustments wouldn’t be made.
The college has a mandate to raise the profile of trades in Ontario to attract more skilled workers to the various industries, modernize apprenticeship programs and give industry members a greater role in governance, among other things. As an industry-driven operation, the idea is that they will protect public interests and serve stakeholders more efficiently than a government body.
It will operate like this: four Trades Boards, composed of employee representatives from the relevant trades, will advise a 20-member Divisional Board, whose members were appointed by an Appointments Council according to the different sectors that must be represented. In turn, the Divisional Board will advise the Board of Governors, which comprises 21 members – four from each of the Divisional Boards, four members representing the public and one representative of the colleges of applied arts and technology.
Once operational the college will be responsible for establishing the scope of practice and setting out policies and procedure for the trades. The college aims to put skilled trades on a similar footing with teachers, doctors, and nurses, who have their own professional regulatory colleges.
The college will set training and certification standards to serve the skilled trades sector and protect the public interest, conduct research to help set training priorities so Ontario will have the workers it needs in the future, give the skilled trade sector ownership of critical decisions, and increase access for internationally-trained workers to get certified. It will be funded on the basis of its own revenues, which will come from membership fees.
Members will include all apprentices, certified workers (journeypersons – certificate of qualification holders) in compulsory trades and voluntary trades and employers who employ journeypersons or who sponsor and/or employ apprentices.
The Board of Governors will be made up of 21 members: four from each of the four divisional boards, four members representing the public, and one representative of the colleges of applied arts and technology. The Divisional Boards will be comprised of 20 member - a chair and four members on each of the sector boards: Construction, Industrial, Motive power, and Service, and numerous trade boards under each division. Trade Boards will be composed of equal numbers of members that are employees and employers, and will include representatives from unionized and non-unionized workplaces. The selection of the board members will take into account the diversity and geography of Ontario’s population including English and French linguistic duality, gender balance, employee and employer representation, as well as unions and non-unions and small and large businesses.
MOTIVE POWER SECTOR BOARD
Auto Body and Collision Damage Repairer
Greg H. Breadman,
Alexandra L. Leith
Auto Body Repairer
Robert R. Hicks,
For more information visit www.collegeoftrades.ca, or call 647-847-3000 in Toronto (toll free 1-855-299-0028), or visit the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities website, http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/ or calling 1-800-387-5514.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 12 July 2012 15:46|