Appendix A – Terms of Reference
Youth advisors terms of reference
The 2019 Ontario Budget committed to promoting apprenticeship and the skilled trades as a pathway choice for youth.
The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (
the Ministry) is working to modernize the skilled trades and apprenticeship system and to better support access for prospective apprentices.
Projections suggest that prior to the COVID‑19 pandemic, Ontario was facing a potential skills shortage. In 2019, Ontario employers had an average of 200,000 job openings across all occupations and industries – with 13,000 in the construction sector alone.
As the province moves towards economic recovery, the industry is continuing to flag potential skilled trades shortages due to the current aging workforce and increasing retirements on the horizon. The average age of an apprentice in Ontario is 29; while nearly one in three journeypersons was aged 55 years and over in 2016. For the coming years (up until 2028), Ontario needs to attract an additional 26,000+ workers from other industries or from outside the Province to create the labour market flexibility necessary to continue delivering projects in a timely manner.
The aging workforce, combined with low student transitions to the apprenticeship system, lack of diversity in the apprenticeship system, as demonstrated by the low percentage of apprentices from underrepresented groups, and peak demand for public infrastructure projects, demonstrate the need for immediate action. Reducing the skilled trades gap is a priority across government. Critical to preparing Ontario for the future of work, is to create more supportive pathways into the skilled trades and to attract new apprentices.
As part of the transformation of the skilled trades and apprenticeship system, the government committed to lead consultations with industry and stakeholders and provide recommendations on ways to modernize the skilled trades and apprenticeship system in order to help fill skills shortages and deliver seamless, integrated client-focused systems to better connect job seekers, workers and employers.
With the onset of the COVID‑19 pandemic and Ontario’s declaration of an emergency order, prospective apprentices and current apprentices are experiencing challenges seeking reemployment due to wide-spread closures and lay-offs. Within this current climate, Ontario needs to be responsive to the needs of youth seeking to enter the system.
1. Mandate of the youth advisors
The Youth Advisors (
the Advisors) are established as part-time appointments to provide advice and recommendations to the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development (
the Minister) on matters related to increasing the engagement of youth, under 30 years of age, including youth from under-represented groups, in the skilled trades and addressing the stigma associated with pursuing a career in the skilled trades, while recognizing the current COVID‑19 climate.
The scope of the mandate for the Advisors will include consulting with stakeholders, and providing advice and recommendations to the Minister on the following key priorities:
- Breaking the stigma associated with pursuing a career in the skilled trades through earlier intervention and improved awareness in earlier years;
- Identifying the barriers, including systemic barriers, preventing all youth and especially those from groups that are traditionally under-represented in the skilled trades, including visible and non-visible minorities, women, and exploring strategies to encourage their participation in apprenticeship training;
- Improving access into apprenticeship by establishing clear, streamlined pathways to apprenticeship and identifying opportunities to develop new, and enhance existing, pathways programs for elementary and secondary students (such as the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and Dual Credits); and
- Supporting the retention of apprentices and successful completion
footnote 4of an apprenticeship program, including improved transitions to careers in the skilled trades that meet the labour force needs of employers, including small to medium sized businesses impacted by COVID‑19.
The Advisors must lead inclusive stakeholder and industry engagement (for a period of up to 6 months) with a diversity of key stakeholders to ensure a wide-range of stakeholder insights are gathered. Key stakeholders could include:
- Employers, including trade unions and non-union employers from all four sectors
- Educators from the Grade 1-12 education system and post-secondary education system;
- Training Delivery Agents (including college and non-college)
- Youth, under 30 years of age including students in the Grade 1-12 education system, students transitioning from secondary school, those that are not in employment, education or training (NEET), women, first in their family to pursue post-secondary education or training, Indigenous youth, students with disabilities, newcomers, Francophones, youth at-risk and those from racialized communities
- Parents, current apprentices and journeypersons, including those under 30 years of age
In consultation with Ministry staff, the Advisors will develop a detailed work plan that will include a list of stakeholders to be engaged, approach to engagement including frequency, and timelines associated with each activity.
Based on the stakeholder feedback received, the Advisors will examine ways to reduce barriers to entry (both real and perceived) and opportunities for improving outcomes and transitions. The Advisors will provide analysis and consensus recommendations to the Minister.
In carrying out their mandate, the Advisors will:
- act impartially and independently
- refrain from making any commitments regarding the outcomes of the review
- be familiar with the government’s objectives related to the skilled trades and apprenticeship modernization plan including relevant statues
- Notify the Ministry of any media requests and/or participation in any events, and seek confirmation from the Minister’s Office prior to responding
2. Key deliverables
For each deliverable, the Advisors will submit a draft report a minimum of 15 days prior to the submission of each deliverable to an identified senior Ministry staff person. The Ministry will provide any factual or editorial comments or corrections prior to each report being finalized.
Detailed work plan and consultation plan
The work plan and consultation plan will articulate how the Advisors propose to deliver on their mandate, as well as the engagement and consultation approach. Plans should reflect a diversity of stakeholders that will be engaged.
The formal engagement term of the Youth Advisors is six months from the date of their appointment. Following the formal engagement term, the Youth Advisors will have up to three months to finalize key deliverables, including reports and recommendations.
The detailed work plan and consultation plans will be provided to an identified senior Ministry staff person by October 1, 2020.
The interim report will focus on stakeholder consultations and include an overview of findings from stakeholder consultations, initial analysis and draft recommendations.
The interim report will be submitted to an identified senior Ministry staff person no later than December 1, 2020.
The Advisors will submit a final report with recommendations on:
- Breaking the stigma associated with pursuing a career in the skilled trades through earlier intervention and improved awareness in earlier years (starting in grade 1 with a strong focus on grades 7 and 8);
- Identifying the barriers preventing youth from groups that are traditionally under-represented in the skilled trades and exploring strategies to encourage their participation in apprenticeship training;
- Improving access into apprenticeship by establishing clear, streamlined pathways to apprenticeship and identifying opportunities to develop new, and enhance existing, pathways programs for elementary and secondary students, (such as the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and Dual Credits); and
- Supporting the retention of apprentices and successful completion of an apprenticeship program, including improved transitions to careers in the skilled trades that meet the labour force needs of employers, including small to medium sized businesses impacted by COVID‑19.
The final report will include evidence-based analysis of current pathways into apprenticeship and gaps and/or barriers (real or perceived) that contribute to prospective apprentices not entering or apprentices non-completing their apprenticeship program.
The final report will present findings based on the consultations with a diversity of stakeholders and all four skilled trades sectors and will include recommendations on how to address the gaps and barriers identified.
The Final Report will be submitted to the Minister and Deputy Minister, no later than April 14, 2021.
The Ministry will provide the Advisors with administrative, policy and project support as agreed upon by the Ministry and the Advisors. This may include logistical and writing support, the provision of access to relevant background information (for example, research, reports), subject-matter expertise and setting of meetings.
The Advisors will direct all media inquiries to the Ministry.
The Advisors will be able to access outside expertise, as approved by the Minister or his designate, and in accordance with relevant directives, guidelines and policies of the Treasury Board/Management Board of Cabinet.
4. Roles and responsibilities
Youth Advisors (3)
The key roles and responsibilities of the Advisors will be to:
- Work together to set priorities pursuant to the mandate and create an open and collaborative environment to foster constructive dialogue between the Advisors and supporting Ministry staff.
- Work with the other Advisors on all matters related to the mandate, including contributing to the development of the workplan and stakeholder consultation plan, setting Advisors’ meeting agendas, contributing to Ministry updates on a monthly basis (or more frequent as required) and to the development of all written reports.
- Maintain frequent communication with the Ministry.
- Facilitate consensus-based decision making to achieve progress on the issues being discussed; Mitigate differing viewpoints if consensus is not achieved and determine a path forward prior to the submission of recommendations.
- Ensure a summary of discussions and recommendations are taken and that meeting notes are distributed to the Ministry.
- Plan and coordinate all stakeholder engagement sessions, leveraging technology to allow for remote engagement activities.
- Liaise with and communicate recommendations to the Minister and Deputy Minister.
- Ensure that recommendations align with the broad objectives relating to the skilled trades and apprenticeship modernization work.
- Contribute to the development of all written materials, including interim reports and final recommendations.
The key roles and responsibilities of the Ministry will be to:
- Receive, and bring forward, any recommendations for government action, as appropriate.
- Liaise with the Advisors on progress related to the completion of the mandate.
- Receive draft reports and/or written recommendations for consideration, and work collaboratively with the Advisors, affected Ministries and external stakeholders where appropriate, to develop final reports or written recommendations to be submitted to the Minister.
- Provide feedback on all deliverables submitted by the Advisors to the Ministry within one week of submission.
- Regularly share updates and proposed policy recommendations from the advisors with the Director of Policy, Office of the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
- Champion the timely implementation of recommendations adopted by the government.
5. Ethics and accountability relationships
The Advisors are accountable to Cabinet through the Minister.
The Advisors will report to the Minister on such matters and at such times as the Minister may request.
Although the Advisors are not formally public servants, it is a condition of their appointment that they act in accordance with the ethical framework for public servants established under the Public Service of Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 (PSOA). This framework has three key elements: conflict of interest, political activity and disclosure of wrongdoing.
To support the ethical framework established by the PSOA, each organization in the public service has an ethics executive. The ethics executive has specific responsibilities in making determinations relating to conflict of interest, political activity and disclosure of wrongdoing. The ethics executive for the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is the Deputy Minister, who will also act as Ethics Executive for the Advisors.
Conflict of interest
The conflict of interest rules which apply to the Advisors are those that apply to public servants as set out in Ontario Regulation 381/07 – Conflict of Interest Rules for Public Servants (Ministry) and Former Public Servants (Ministry), which is a regulation made under the PSOA. The rules address situations in which an Advisor’s outside interests may be in conflict with his or her responsibilities, including the following:
- using their position to benefit themselves, their spouse or their children
- accepting gifts
- disclosing confidential information
- giving preferential treatment
- hiring their spouse, children, parents or siblings
- engaging in outside activities that conflict with their public service duties
- making personal use of government resources
For the purposes of the above “confidential information” means information that is not available to the public.
Because the rules are drafted with public servants in mind, some of them will not apply to Advisors. For example, an Advisor will not be in a position to hire someone into the public service, so the rule respecting hiring of a family member will not be relevant.
Advisors should familiarize themselves with Part I of Ontario Regulation 381/07, attached as Schedule B.
The rules for political activity that apply to the Advisors are set out in sections 75-84 of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006. Under the PSOA, a person is considered to engage in
political activity when he or she:
- Does anything in support of or in opposition to a federal or provincial political party.
- Does anything in support of or in opposition to a candidate in a federal, provincial or municipal election.
- Is or seeks to become a candidate in a federal, provincial or municipal election.
- Makes public comments outside the scope of their duties about matters directly related to their duties and that are dealt with in the position or policy of a party or candidate.
This definition is largely concerned with electoral politics and not political activity in a broader sense. In general, a person is entitled to engage in political activity as it is defined in the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 (PSOA) subject to certain limitations: he or she is not permitted to engage in political activity in the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) workplace, may not use MLTSD resources for political activity and may not associate his or her position as an Advisor with political activity (except as necessary to identify his or her position and work experience if seeking to be a candidate in a federal, provincial or municipal election).
An Advisor who wishes to engage in the following political activities must ask his or her ethics executive for a leave of absence from their position as an Advisor:
- Be or seek to be a candidate in a federal or provincial election during an election period.
- Comment publicly on matters that are directly related to his or her duties as an Advisor that are addressed in the policies of a federal or provincial party, or in the policies of a candidate in federal, provincial, or municipal election.
- Engage in political activity which could interfere with the performance of his or her duties as an Advisor.
A leave of absence will always be granted during an election period. Outside of an election period, the ethics executive will determine whether a leave is necessary. The rules in their entirety are attached as Schedule C.
Disclosure of wrongdoing
In addition to setting out duties for their conduct, the ethical framework of the PSOA also protects public servants who disclose wrongdoing. Advisors will similarly receive those protections. Wrongdoing consists of the following:
- contravening an Act or regulation
- creating a grave danger to life, health, safety or the environment by an action or failure to act that is unreasonable in the circumstances
- gross mismanagement
- directing or counselling someone to commit one of the above
The rules respecting the disclosure of wrongdoing allow Advisors to raise allegations of wrongdoing and provide protection from reprisal for those who do so. This means that a member would be protected from being removed as an Advisor for making a disclosure.
Advisors can make a disclosure to the ethics executive or, in certain circumstances, directly to the Integrity Commissioner (an independent officer of the Legislature). The procedures governing a disclosure of wrongdoing are set out in the Disclosure of Wrongdoing Directive, established by the Public Service Commission.
The Advisors will comply with the Government of Ontario’s directives and principles with respect to ethics and accountability. It is the responsibility of the Advisors to identify any actual or potential conflicts of interest that may arise during the term of their appointment. The Advisors will keep their work on the review separate and independent from any other work they may be undertaking.
Advisors, for a period of twelve (12) months following the end of the appointment, shall notify any Ministry or agency of their appointment as an Advisor before they apply for or accept employment or seek or enter into a contract with that ministry or agency if it was a ministry of agency to which they provided advice, or if the employment or contract may relate to the advice or services they provided as Advisors.
6. Ownership of work
All material produced by the Advisors, including records, documents, reports, research, advice and recommendations (“Material”), is the property of the Crown in right of Ontario.
For greater clarity, the Government of Ontario is the sole owner of any intellectual property in the Material, and any moral rights in the Materials shall be waived in favour of the Government of Ontario.
7. Status reports and meetings
The Advisors will:
- provide regular progress reports to an identified senior Ministry staff as outlined in the detailed work plan;
- provide regular progress reports related to consultations and stakeholder engagement to an identified senior Ministry staff person as outlined in the detailed consultation plan;
- provide any interim analysis, advice and recommendations as requested to the Minister, Deputy Minister, or identified senior Ministry official prior to the submission of the final recommendations;
- meet with the Minister, Deputy Minister, or delegated Ministry staff at the discretion of the Minister to discuss the progress of the key deliverables and any emerging issues or ideas; and
- meet with Ministry staff at the discretion of the Minister to receive briefings, materials or documentation relevant to the skilled trades and apprenticeship modernization model.
8. Conflict of interest
Any actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest of the Youth Advisors arising in relation to the mandate shall be disclosed to the Deputy Minister in accordance with the Conflict of Interest Declaration.
The three Youth Advisors are appointed as part-time appointments, at pleasure, by Order in Council 1224/2020 and will be remunerated in accordance with Order in Council 1223/2020.
As the appointments are part-time appointments Youth Advisors may not exceed three working days per week in any single week, and are expected to work an average of two days per week.
The Advisors are appointed for a term of up to nine (9) months.
These Terms of Reference will take effect upon the appointment of the Advisors and will remain in effect during the term of the Advisors. These Terms of Reference may only be amended by a document in writing, dated and signed by the Minister and the Advisors.
11. Release of reports and recommendations
The Advisors will not disclose any findings, proposed recommendations or final recommendations without the prior written authorization of the Minister. The publication or disclosure of the any of the findings, recommendations or reports of the Advisors will be determined by the Minister.
- footnote Back to paragraph BuildForce Canada. Construction & Maintenance Looking Forward, 2019.
- footnote Back to paragraph Completion of an apprenticeship program means the attainment of the highest level of certification available within a given trade, a Certificate of Qualification for applicable trades or a Certificate of Apprenticeship for the applicable trades.