The Making Ontario Open for Business Act Aims to Transform Ontario’s Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Program


OCTOBER 23RD, 2018



The Making Ontario Open for Business Act Aims to Transform Ontario’s Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Program

Ontario government announces legislative that if passed, would remove-job killing burdens


Queen’s Park – Ontario’s Government for the People announced a series of regulatory and legislative changes that, if passed by Ontario’s Legislature, will make it easier for Ontario employers to hire and workers to find jobs and grow their careers in Ontario.

As part of the reform, Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour, Jim Wilson, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities announced that the Making Ontario Open for Business Act would address the skilled trades backlog and the outdated apprenticeship system.  The legislation, if passed, would set all journeyperson to apprentice ratios at one-to-one, implement a moratorium on trade classifications and reclassifications, and wind down the Ontario College of Trades. 

“I have been hearing from constituents across my riding of Simcoe North as well as from stakeholders from across Ontario that the apprenticeship system has been creating barriers and making it very challenging for Ontario to keep up in training skilled tradespeople.  We need to meet our economy’s skilled trades demand and presently, we are not,” said MPP Jill Dunlop.  Ontario’s ratios are among the highest in Canada and are limiting the number of apprentices an employer can train.  The new legislation, if passed, would simplify the process for employers and skilled trades professionals.  Dunlop also stated that the one-to-one ratio component of this legislation would allow small businesses in Simcoe North, as well as across Ontario, to accept more apprentices which would address the skilled trades gap and help build a thriving economy.    

The government also addressed persistent challenges in how the skilled trades in Ontario are regulated, the amount of College membership fees that apprentices and journeypersons are subject to, and the complexity of the rules apprentices, journeypersons, and employers are bound by.  As part of the government’s commitment to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens, the government is proposing to wind down the Ontario College of Trades.

Dunlop stated that the Ontario College of Trades has been a continous topic of discussion with both her constituents and businesses in her riding.  “Whenever I would talk about skilled trades and the importance of supporting and promoting the skilled trades sector, I would always get feedback and responses about how the Ontario College of Trades ‘had to go.’  People would write to me about heavy-handed enforcement decisions, high membership fees, and complex rules that were hindering them either as skilled trades professionals or as a business as a whole.” 

Discussions on the skilled trades industry and how to champion the sector has been of particular importance to Dunlop.  “I have seen firsthand the important work our skilled trades professionals do.  Growing up in a family of skilled trades labourers, I was always taught the value and significance of their work.  Simcoe North is made up of hardworking skilled trades professionals, entrepreneurs, and small businesses and I know how vital they are to our local economy.”  Ms. Dunlop said she will always support investing in Ontario’s economy, creating good jobs, and reducing the stigma and barriers that skilled trades workers face.

In their announcement, the government maintained that they will continue to systematically review Ontario’s stock of regulations, then streamline, modernize, and in some cases, eliminate unnecessarily complicated, outdated or duplicative regulations. 


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