Focusing on input is helping drive regulators and the skilled trades sector forward in Ontario.
In 2013, the Ontario College of Trades (OTC) was established by the Government of Ontario as an industry body—one tasked with modernizing and protecting the interests of skilled trades professions, including tradespeople, industry and also the general public.
Often, a big issue with the introduction of a regulatory body is how it will impact the industries it serves, including promoting those industries it supports, as well as legislative issues and enforcement practices. In 2014, the Government of Ontario appointed Tony Dean, former Cabinet Secretary and head of the Ontario Public Service, to conduct a review of key areas of Ontario’s skilled trades as defined within the mandates of the OTC. One of the key factors that emerged was the need for thorough consultation with trade industry professionals, organizations and other key stakeholders in order to develop a collaborative approach to making changes or amendments to the OTC’s mandates.
Collision Management talked with Kate Poultney of the Motive Power Divisional Board and asked her about the consultation process and what it likely means for those tradespeople and other professionals within the Motive Power sector (which includes automotive servicing and repair).
From your perspective how successful has been the OTC’s approach when it comes to the consultation process?
We feel it has been very successful. Both in person and online, it has proved to be an essential way in receiving direction from our members.
You launched an online consultation back in February. What have been the results from that so far?
It has gone very well and we were surprised by how much feedback we’ve received. In the first week of posting it, we received over 7000 submissions.
Have there been some recurring topics from respondents when you’ve conducted consultations, whether in person or online?
We heard a lot about membership fees and questions about what the fees actually provide. It’s a very legitimate question and our facilitators have been very impartial. It was interesting because the results of the consultation process have led to a great deal of collaboration covering a range of topics, including trade classification, compliance and enforcement. We’ve also had roundtable discussions covering different sectors within the skilled trades profession, including construction and industrial as well as service, and it has been very interesting to get different perspectives. One of the key things is that it has been a very collaborative environment with people from all walks of life coming together to help move the college and industry forward in a positive direction.
Can you tell us a little about the Motive Power sector and perhaps how it has evolved since the OTC came into being?
Curriculum standards and training have grown significantly over the last two years. Today we have standards that match what is out there in the field, and training and apprenticeship numbers are up. There is enforcement at the ground level, and it is helping to create a level playing field, ensuring those that are working and adhering to the standards aren’t being held back by those that don’t.