FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 8, 2014
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett joined the spirit of thousands of apprentices across the province who noted the first anniversary of paying new fees to the Ontario College of Trades with frustration and grief.
“In the past year, my office has received hundreds of calls from apprentices and tradespeople upset with the job-killing tax introduced by the College of Trades,” Barrett said. “We should be doing all we can to encourage job creation, not discouraging it.”
The new apprenticeship fees affect a wide variety of professions, from auto mechanics to electricians, hairdressers and machinists.
Worse than having to pay a new fee to work, some electricians have experienced a restriction in their ability to work due to the way the licenses are issued.
“I have had several constituents who held special designations but when they received the new license from the College of Trades the special designation was missing. This resulted in them no longer being allowed to do specialized work as they were licensed to do in the past,” Barrett said.
A proposal currently before the Ontario College of Trades is examining the possibility of making carpenters a certified trade. This would mean carpenters, framers, renovators, window and door installers would all need certification.
“I read with interest media reports quoting federal employment minister Jason Kenney saying he thinks Ontario is creating barriers by requiring carpenters to be licensed,” Barrett said. “Minister Kenney said, ‘There is growing concern that while most provinces in Canada are looking at ways to remove barriers to entering the skilled trades, Ontario is heading in the opposite direction. The wrong direction’.
“With assistance from my father, I built my own house,” Barrett continued. “Will the new certification mean people are no longer able to build their own houses, or complete renovations?”
The new Ontario College of Trade fees are set against a background where the Conference Board of Canada estimates Ontario will face a shortage of 190,000 skilled workers by 2020. In addition, Colleges Ontario estimates there are 46 per cent fewer tradespeople per capita in Ontario compared to the rest of Canada.
Barrett has organized a petition against the College of Trades, which have been read into the Ontario Legislature.
“We need to abolish the College of Trades and focus on creating jobs and putting people back to work, not creating more fees and red tape,” Barrett said.
For more information contact
MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446