Cardus Report: Serious Flaws With Ontario College of Trades

Canada NewsWire


HAMILTON, ON, Sept. 8, 2011 /CNW/- A major study released today by the Hamilton-based think tank Cardus shows that Ontario’s College of Trades is designed to fail.

The College of Trades was set up in October, 2009 by the Ontario government as a self-governing professional college providing regulatory oversight, discipline, enforcement, and promotion of 157 trades in Ontario. The College immediately affects over 620,000 tradespersons and employers in the province, and is designed to quickly increase in size.

“The intent was to create a body which would assist Ontario’s trades facing difficult circumstances,” says Michael Van Pelt, president of Cardus. “Instead, we have legislation requiring huge administration and tremendous financial resources. This will add unneeded financial burden and redundant layers of regulation and discipline to tradespersons and their employers.

What is most troubling, says Van Pelt, is that the College faces “inherent conflict of interest on the primary rationale for its design—the designation of certain trades as compulsory. The College has self-interest in expanding its financial base by making more trades compulsory. This suggests an open-ended financial burden which can be imposed by a minority of trades on the majority of trades, all of which can be done behind closed doors.”

Key findings of the Cardus report note that the College of Trades:

    •    will likely cover over 10% of Ontario’s working population, a mandate far greater than any current professional college;
    •    will require funding from tradespersons and employers far above their current rates, effectively creating a new tax on an already burdened sector;
    •    will privatize the financial burden of responsibility for trades in Ontario;
    •    contains a financial conflict of interest in expanding compulsory certification;
    •    reflects a massive and slow-moving structure which will see a minority of trades governing the future of the majority of trades;
    •    provides no evidence it will increase labour supply or increase apprenticeship completion rates; and
    •    runs contrary to the government’s “Open for Business Initiative.”

Cardus is a think tank dedicated to the renewal of North American social architecture, conducting independent and original research in this and other key areas of public life.

For further information:

Media Contact:
Michael Van Pelt (905)464-3687

A copy of Cardus’ full report is available at