November 19, 2012
Ontario trades college membership fees unveiled
Membership fees have been set for the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) and will range from $60 to $120 annually.
“We’re very hopeful that over time we are able to persuade significant amounts of tradespeople in voluntary trades to participate, to be members in good standing of their professional regulatory body. We believe it will certainly elevate the trades,” said Bob Guthrie, OCOT registrar and chief executive officer.
The membership classes of apprentices, tradespersons and journeyperson candidates will pay $60 annually. Journeypersons and employer/sponsors will pay $120 a year. The college is expected to begin accepting membership on April 8, 2013. It will represent 157 skilled trades in the construction, motive power, industrial and service sectors.
In some categories, these fees are significantly lower than the proposed membership fees released in the spring, which ranged from $50 to $600 a year. The Ontario Construction Employers Coalition (OCEC) said the new fees changes nothing.
“This is still going to cost our industry and our tradespeople dearly and what are they doing to get in return? Nothing,” said Sean Reid, OCEC chair and regional director for Ontario for the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada.
Over the next year or two, the college hopes to fulfill two of its mandates, to promote the skilled trades as a viable career option and enforce compulsory trades.
“There is a perception out there that’s very widely held in the industry that there’s not been rigorous enforcement of compulsory trades in the past so we hope to do better. We intend to do better,” said Guthrie.
He assumes that shortly after the date that it begins accepting membership, OCOT will have the regulatory authority to enforce the Ontario laws pertaining to compulsory trades.
Reid says it’s too late to begin touting the value adds of the college.
“One would think that when they first conceived this legislation over five years ago that they would have had some idea what value they would bring to people and industry and still after five years we have nothing.”
The proposed membership fees were open to stakeholder consultation in the spring. Guthrie said there were several hundred replies to the consultation, which ranged from supportive, neutral and opposed to fees at any level. It was also influenced by OCEC’s “Stop The Trades Tax” campaign.
“The fact that there were organizations out there that were suggesting that our fees were going to be much higher and that they were a tax and so on certainly motivated us to be as efficient as possible. When we set the fees, we set them at the lowest rate we could in order to generate the revenue we needed to deliver the value of the college,” said Guthrie.
OCEC and many of its member organizations participated in the membership fee consultation.
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