I’m Jason Firth.
This week, I read about the news that the Ontario College of Trades is being wound down, to be shut down in 2019.
As a certified tradesman, I’m a little mixed on this, but mostly I’m happy to see it happen.
In every other province, the government administers voluntary trades, and provides a piece of paper saying you’re a certified tradesperson at the end. You pay for the test, you pay for the piece of paper, but then the government is done with the process. You are a journeyman forever. By contrast, the Ontario College of Trades was charging over $100/yr for the privilege of putting your name on a list and sending you a replacement sticker for your piece of paper saying it’s still valid for another year.
This isn’t unprecedented. OACETT and other related associations require an annual payment as well to maintain your certification. However, there’s one big difference in my view: Associations of Certified Engineering Technologists and Technicians provide value to the public and value to certified members for the money. I’ve had opportunities to go to seminars, to participate in really cool activities for National Engineering Month, and more. Also, we vote on our leadership, and get to participate in the rule making process.
By contrast, the Ontario College of Trades doesn’t provide value to tradespeople. I never got any opportunities from the College, only a bill. There were no chances to improve, no chances to participate (all the important people in the College of Trades were appointees, not elected by the membership).
And then there’s the public. In theory, the College of Trades is supposed to give the public somewhere to complain about tradespeople who engage in poor workmanship or who violate the college of trades code of ethics. In practice, this never did happen.
With hundreds of thousands of members each paying over $100 a year, they had a huge pot of money, but they didn’t use it to make the world better. The handful of prosecutions by the college over the years were simply not worth the absurd cost of each one.
In my opinion, the world is better off with this legislation removed. Maybe in the future an association for skilled tradespeople can exist. However, it would have to look a lot different than the college of trades.
Thanks for Reading!