Ontario Construction Report staff writer
Tony Dean indicates he will soon signal the direction of his review about the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) scopes of practice and classification/apprenticeship review panels.
“In mid to late June we will start to signal our early thinking on some aspects of the terms of reference and more ideas will be tested in July and August,” he said in a note published on the deanreview.com website.
Dean said the review team has benefited from “thoughtful advice and information which will directly inform our thinking and the content of our report to the Minister and the Chair of the College’s Board of Governors.”
“We will have heard from over 300 individuals and representatives of organizations and 40 trade boards representing over 50 trades and spanning the four sectors covered by the College’s mandate,” he wrote.
“Large number of concerns have been raised about the classification process established to determine the status of trades as voluntary or compulsory,” he wrote. “Issues include onus, timelines, inclusion, the role and use of evidence, the usefulness of existing criteria for decision makers and the make-up of the decision-making panel.
“The use of Scopes of Practice (SoP) in the classification process has also been actively discussed. There is a widespread belief that many of the SoPs are outdated and inconsistent formats and would benefit from a thorough review.”
Dean wrote that there are some concerns about apprenticeship/journeyperson ratios “but this varies by sector and region.
“Like the classification review process, the use of evidence and the existing criteria for decision making has emerged as issues here,” he wrote.
“The SoPs for trades has also emerged in discussions on college enforcement activity for compulsory trades. In some cases enforcement activity based on SoPs is clashing with previous decisions made by the Ontario Labour Relations Board in sorting out jurisdictional and work assignment disputes between trade unions or between a trade union and an employer. Our mandate requires us to provide recommendations on this matter.”
Dean’s review is to be completed by October. Then, the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities in consultation with the OCOT will have the opportunity to analyze and implement is recommendations on issues related to the scopes of practice and the classification and reclassification of trades.
Earlier, David Frame, the Ontario General Contractors’ Association’s (OGCA)’s director of government relations, says Dean “is clearly listening and understanding the issues that exist” with the OCOT and is “clearly struggling to put together recommendations that the government will be able to accept and fully implement.”
Frame said Dean has said there will be a need for compromise and has indicated in oral hearings that proponents shouldn’t expect to get everything they want. He says “expect to be disappointed in some areas and pleased in others,” Frame said. “He appears to be working on a good old-fashioned Canadian compromise.”