The OCOT was initially created in 2009 to promote regulate skilled trade apprentices, enforce licensing requirements, and eliminate poor workmanship. However, our perception is that the organisation has proven severely lacking in it’s ability to just that. While it’s widely agreed among the skilled trades that a governing body does need to be in place to enforce all those issues, the OCOT seemed to continually fall short. It was seen as an annual cash-grab for already licenced, and it truly did very little else that was notable to promote the skilled trades or protect people from poor workmanship. In fact, it could be argued from an already licensed standpoint, that the OCOT simply assumed the exact same responsibilities as were previously administered by the MCTU.
For the Sheet Metal Worker designation in particular, there is no decent rationale provided why a licensed worker can only apprentice one person at a time (this is a 4 year endeavour). From our perspective, we have a lot more to offer, and could certainly take on two or even three apprentices at a time without compromising learning and transfer of skill. The 1:1 ratio is killing certain trades – we would know, we’ve had a difficult time hiring skilled or licensed people. They just honestly aren’t readily available. People are not being trained and apprenticed at the rate they are needed to fill Ontario jobs.
We are well aware that the Ford Government’s proposal will keep the ratio at 1:1, which is exactly what has us sceptical. All trades are not equal. The designations ought to be examined individually to determine a reasonable ratio for training in each field. This will also create more licensed people to fill the numerous jobs that are currently sitting unfilled or underskilled. This is not likely to happen.
It remains to be seen exactly what will happen. No real details have been provided. While it is our opinion that the OCOT certainly needed an overhaul and some governmental supervision, we aren’t convinced that eliminating it altogether is the answer. Here’s to hoping the glaziers, masons, structural metalworkers, etc. have some learning standards maintained. I just hate it when the glass falls off the skyscrapers downtown, don’t you?