April 15, 2014
In 2009, the Ontario government passed the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009 (OCTAA) creating the College. It began accepting members in April 2013.   

It’s the first of its kind in North America, according to Matt Moir, a spokesperson for the Ontario College of Trades. “The College puts decision-making back in the hands of skilled tradespeople,” says Moir.

Moir feels that the College protects the public by regulating and promoting the skilled trades. “One of the main responsibilities of the College is to ensure that individuals performing the skills of compulsory trades have the training and certification required to legally practise that trade in Ontario.”

The College is led by a 21-member Board of Governors comprised of trades industry representatives, members of the public and a representative from the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology. Industry representatives are both employees and employers, and chosen from union and non-union workplaces.

Who are the College’s members? Apprentices, certified workers in compulsory trades, employers who employ journeypersons or who sponsor/employ apprentices, and those in voluntary trades who choose to join.

The Ontario College of Trades members pay an annual fee. The fee was set following public consultations. “It is the lowest of any regulatory body in the province,” says Moir.

There are five different membership classes, while apprentices, journeypersons candidates and tradespersons pay an annual fee of $60 (+HST). Membership fees for journeypersons and employers/sponsors are $120 (+HST) annually.

Members’ names are listed on the College’s website. “This ensures that customers know that they are hiring a qualified professional. And employers will know that you have the right training and skills and are in good standing with your profession,” says Moir.

The College’s spokesperson said that soon some added benefits through an affinity program will entitle members to discounts on various services. “These benefits will more than offset the membership fee,” says Moir. “Though Ontario’s economy is growing, it faces a significant skills shortage in the near future. The College is here to ensure that the voices of tradespeople in Ontario are heard, and that we can respond to that challenge,” says the College’s spokesperson.