The Ontario College of Trades has run into a wall of opposition from the Ontario construction industry. The Ontario Construction Employer’s Coalition, which was formed to hold the College accountable, has grown from the original seven members (including OGCA) to fifteen in the last month as one by one industry organizations challenge the College’s plans. Support for the campaign now includes LCAs in Sarnia, London, Grand Valley, and Ottawa.
The focus of the opposition is on the proposed membership fees that are projected to raise at least $84 million per year with no real benefit for worker or employer members. The Coalition has launched a new website (www.stopthetradestax.ca) to inform Ontarians about the College, the campaign and suggested action. We encourage you to go to the website to learn about the College, our campaign and what you should do to stop the College and its proposed new fees.
The College’s only response to the mounting criticism is that they will proceed with their plans and that they continue to enjoy strong support. It completed its consultation in early June but has not yet announced the fees to be charged as of January 1, 2013.
The new Coalition website includes form letters to be used to reach out to your local MPPs to inform them of your objection to the College. The campaign, organized by OGCA, has generated numerous letters that have helped to raise the issue in all three caucuses. Our goal now is to challenge government members to question their support for the College and to push for reform. If you haven’t sent your letter, please do it now, with a copy to OGCA. If you require any assistance, please contact David Frame, Government Relations, OGCA (email@example.com)
OGCA recognizes that the College as it now exists, will not be able to deliver its mandate to produce research and promote the trades, so it must be replaced by an organization that will. We are working with the Coalition to propose a new organization that will be focused on assuring that the construction industry has the skilled workforce we will need to build Ontario’s economic infrastructure. As a result, the OGCA Board of Directors has passed the following statement in regards to the College of Trades:
“Whereas the College of Trades has not acted to produce research and promote the trades, the overall goal is to replace the College of Trades with an industry-made solution to promote trades in Ontario.”
We would like to recognize Garfield Dunlop, PC, MPP, who has travelled the province speaking to contractors, workers and industry associations about the College and its proposed trade’s tax.
OGCA and the Coalition will continue to work with Garfield to increase the profile of the issue and press for changes. If your local association has not taken a position, please contact David Frame firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements for a presentation.