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Say good-bye to OCoT, and meet Skilled Trades Ontario (maybe)



May 6, 2021 – “We heard loud and clear from apprentices, journeypersons and employers alike that [the Ontario College of Trades] is not working,” said Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training & Skills Development, Monte McNaughton.

“Following our expert panel’s recommendations, we are taking a thoughtful and measured approach by launching Skilled Trades Ontario, a new agency that will put the trades first,” he added.

Today, McNaughton introduced Bill 288, Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act (2021)—legislation “designed to make the province’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system more efficient, accessible and easier to navigate”.

“Under the current system, responsibilities are shared between OCoT and the Ministry of Labour, Training & Skills Development, causing confusion and added burden for people […],” said McNaughton.

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With Bill 288, Ontario aims to help tradespeople get their certification from “one reliable, streamlined destination”—a new Crown agency, Skilled Trades Ontario, which would replace the Ontario College of Trades (OCoT).

The Bill’s First Reading occurred today, May 6, 2021, and carried.

Under the proposed legislation, Skilled Trades Ontario would become the province’s training authority to lead the promotion and R&D of the latest apprenticeship training and curriculum standards.

It would also provide a seamless “one window experience for client-facing services” such as apprentice registration, issuance of certificates and renewals, and equivalency assessments—all in one place, with many services offered digitally.

The legislation was informed by the Skilled Trades Panel’s first report, which called for the establishment of a new Crown agency. The Ministry will provide system oversight and be responsible for regulatory decisions, financial supports and take on responsibility for compliance and enforcement of the skilled trades.

The Skilled Trades Panel includes Michael Sherrard (chair) and industry representatives Jason Ottey, Melanie Winter, Shaun Scott and Melissa Young.

The Skilled Trades Panel is currently consulting on Phase 2 of its mandate, which will focus on classification and training in the trades. CLICK HERE to take part in the online consultation.

READ ALSO NETCO’s Melissa Young speaks on Ontario’s new Skilled Trades Panel.


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