June 21, 2012
Ontario Construction Employers Coalition membership grows
Four more associations have joined the Ontario Construction Employers Coalition in their fight against the Ontario College of Trades.
The Coalition officially formed in September 2011 and has been calling for the complete overhaul or abolition of the College, which was legislated in 2009 by the Liberal government to modernize the province’s skilled trades, focusing on key issues such as compulsory certification and determination of ratios.
The new campaign members are: Conestoga Heavy Construction Association; Durham Regional Heavy Contractors Association; Greater Toronto Sewer & Watermain Contractors Association; and Sarnia Heavy Construction Association.
“Never in our 50-year history have we seen such a blatant tax grab,” said Wayne Bruce, Durham Region Heavy Contractors Association president, in a release.
“There’s no question that the College will not only drive up costs for our members, but infrastructure projects across the province.”
The College recently closed a public consultation on the new membership fees that range from $50 to $600 annually, depending on whether the member is an apprentice, journeyperson, tradesworker or employer/sponsor. All fees will go directly to the College to fund its operation, according to the website.
Based on current Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities figures, the Coalition estimates this will generate $84 million.
“The more tradespeople and employers learn about the College of Trade’s proposal to impose an $84 million tax on the skilled trades, the more convinced they are of the need to join the campaign to stop shut down the College,” said Sean Reid, Coalition chair, in a news release.
“We have no doubt our campaign to stop the College will keep growing in numbers, making it harder and harder for the McGuinty government to ignore the voices of trades people in Ontario.”
In a formal submission to the Ontario College of Trades, the Coalition outlined several concerns, including a lack of transparency and information around the College’s budgetary requirements, future business plans, and how the College will be financially accountable to Ontarians.
“The College of Trades is a boondoggle that will drive people out of skilled trades and drive up construction costs for consumers,” said Reid.
“Without transparency, accountability, or explanation of any real benefits to the skilled trades sector, the College is in no position to impose a new $84 million tax on Ontario trades workers and employers, and we’re in no position to accept the tax.”
Other Coalition members include: Heavy Construction Association of Toronto, Merit Ontario, Ontario Electrical League, Ontario General Contractors Association, Ontario Road Builders Association, Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association; Progressive Contractors Association of Canada, and Residential Construction Council of Ontario.
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