Skills Training | Concrete

May 31, 2012

Ontario College of Trades here to stay, says MPP Flynn

Despite opposition from some members of the construction community, the Ontario College of Trades is here to stay, says a member of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU).

“I just think it’s a great idea. Some people don’t and we’re just going to have to agree to disagree, but it’s not stopping. If anybody thinks that they’re going to stop this, they’re fooling themselves,” says Kevin Flynn, Parliamentary Assistant to Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) Glen Murray and member of provincial parliament (MPP) .

When fully operational, the College will represent 150 skilled trades in Ontario and is expected to be the largest regulatory body in North America with between 400,000 and 600,000 members in the construction, industrial, motive power and service sectors. It is expected to begin accepting members on Jan. 1, 2013.

The Ontario Construction Employers Coalition has been vocal in its opposition to the College, citing issues of transparency and governance and that it does not fairly represent its membership. It is calling for the abolition or complete overhaul of the College. But Flynn says the College is leading the skilled trades in Canada.

“(With)The process we’ve used so far, I don’t think anybody can fault it for not being transparent. I think we’ve gone to great pains to ensure that it is a very transparent process and will continue to be. It’s going to eventually become a body that is run by its membership and it doesn’t get much more transparent than that.”

The College and MTCU are currently working as a “hybrid,” said MPP Flynn, but the College will be on its own, including financially, on Jan. 1, 2013.

Flynn has been involved with the College since the beginning and was responsible for getting the bill through the committee hearing.

He said in the beginning the College was envisioned to only apply to journeypersons but Flynn said the trades community came forward and said it was a good idea for apprentices to be involved too.

“It’s evolved into something that is starting to find its feet now and I think a year or two after they’ve been up and running, even those who are opposed to it right now, I think, they’re going to begrudgingly have to say ‘You know what? This is working well.’”

In addition to consultations on new classes of membership and membership fees, the College is currently undergoing its first-ever ratio reviews and Flynn said the next six months will be really telling as it prepares to open its doors.

“Employers want to have skilled people in the province of Ontario. Employees want to have good, safe worksites and secure jobs. I think we can do both and I think the College of Trades sis only one way of accomplish that but it’s a very good way of accomplishing it.”

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