Phase 2 consultations are now closed.

Read the Phase 1 report.

Background

The skilled trades play a critical role in Ontario’s economy, however, the province’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system is outdated and overly complex.

That is why the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is working to simplify, transform and strengthen the system by cutting red tape and making it easier for people to be part of the skilled trades. We are committed to developing a simple and streamlined system that includes a new client-facing digital system for apprentices, skilled tradespeople and sponsors.

As part of our commitments to reduce regulatory burdens and to modernize apprenticeship in Ontario, in November 2018 we decided to wind down the Ontario College of Trades in favour of a new service delivery model. Under the new model, the minister may establish industry advisory committees and delegate specific functions, while also using a modernized approach to compliance and enforcement.

Skilled trades panel

In September 2020, the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development appointed a five-member skilled trades panel.

During its mandate, the panel will:

  • seek input from the public and industry stakeholders on how to improve the skilled trades and apprenticeship system
  • provide advice and recommendations to the minister about ways to modernize the skilled trades and apprenticeship system (part of Ontario’s skilled trades strategy)
  • operate at arm’s length from the government to ensure it provides independent, evidence-based advice

The panel’s work will happen in two phases:

  • Phase 1: the panel will provide advice and recommendations on a new service delivery model to replace the current services delivered by the college.
  • Phase 2: the panel will provide advice and recommendations on matters related to the classification and training for trades.

Phase 2 consultations (closed)

Similar to the Phase 1 consultations, in Phase 2 the panel will host discussions and accept written submissions to engage with stakeholders on matters related to the classification and training for the trades, including:

  • the criteria and process for trade prescription and process for trade de-prescription
  • the criteria and process for trade classification and reclassification
  • opportunities for initiatives that complement training for tradespeople

The panel’s priority is to ensure diverse participation across the following four sectors within the skilled trades:

  • construction
  • industrial
  • motive power
  • service

The panel hopes to hear from stakeholders from all parts of the skilled trades and apprenticeship system, including:

  • employers and sponsors
  • apprentices, journeypersons and other workers
  • training delivery agents
  • associations
  • not-for-profits
  • anyone else who is involved in or impacted by the skilled trades system

Full participation is important to ensure that the panel’s recommendations are relevant to the diversity of the skilled trades in Ontario. The panel will carefully consider all input they receive before they make recommendations and provide advice to the minister.

Trade prescription

The panel has been asked to provide advice and recommendations to the minister on a process and criteria for prescribing new trades. When a new trade is named in regulation, this enables the establishment of an apprenticeship training program.

These programs are developed with industry and typically include:

  • 85%-90% on-the-job training under the supervision of a qualified tradesperson
  • 10%-15% in-school technical training at an approved Training Delivery Agent

Prescribing a new trade allows for consistent training and certification across the province. If the trade is deemed compulsory, it would also be subject to compliance and enforcement actions.

The panel is seeking specific feedback on elements that could be part of the eligibility criteria and process for prescription as a skilled trade in Ontario. No specific applications for new trades will be considered as part of this consultation.

Trade de-prescription

In Ontario, there are currently 144 trades over the four trade sectors. Twelve trades were de-prescribed in 2019 after consultation with the affected trades and its partners. Compared to other Canadian jurisdictions, Ontario has the highest number of trades.

We need to continually assess the performance and viability of trades to reduce regulatory burden and modernize the skilled trades and apprenticeship system in Ontario. 

This assessment would be:

  • conducted in consultation with industry stakeholders, as part of the regulatory registry requirement
  • based on a rigorous process and criteria to assess sustainability of a trade and its apprenticeship program

The panel is interested in hearing from stakeholders on what process and criteria should be followed to de-prescribe trades.

Trade classification

Prescribed trades are classified as compulsory or voluntary in regulation. Compulsory classification restricts the practice of the trade to authorized individuals, including:

  • journeypersons with a certificate of qualification (CofQ)
  • apprentices with a valid registered training agreement

The panel has been asked to provide advice and recommendations on the process and criteria for how trades could be classified or reclassified as compulsory or voluntary. The panel is aware that this is a subject of interest to stakeholders and expects to build upon previous work in this area.

The panel wants to hear from stakeholders about:

  • what works
  • what does not work
  • practical advice for implementation

The panel’s work will focus on the process and criteria and it will not provide advice on the classification or reclassification of specific trades.

Opportunities for initiatives that complement training for tradespeople

Under the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009, one of the responsibilities of the college is to provide for the ongoing education of members of the college.

Now that the college is winding down, the Ontario government wants to ensure that apprentices and journeypersons in Ontario’s skilled trades system:

  • have the training, skills and competencies they need to meet the expectations of their employer
  • are prepared, nimble and savvy enough to meet the challenges of the 21st century labour market and economy

The Ontario Government wants to hear ideas about other types of training or skills that might:

  • be complementary to training in the skilled trades
  • enhance job readiness in some sectors
  • increase the abilities of journeypersons to:
    • mentor apprentices
    • run their own businesses
    • stay current on the latest technologies in their sector afterthey have completed their formal training and attained certification
  • be included in existing apprenticeship programs to help develop a more inclusive, accessible, and equitable workforce

Phase 2 discussion questions:

Trade prescription criteria and process (naming new trades)

Criteria
  1. What criteria should be included in the framework for developing new trades? (for example, industry support for an apprenticeship program, labour market need, existence of the trade in other provinces and territories, etc.)
  2. Should the same criteria be applied to all sectors? Please explain why or why not (for example, should the criteria take regional differences into account?).
    • Should the criteria be weighed equally?
Process
  1. What process should the applicant be required to follow and what should be included in an application package?
  2. Who should assess the application? Who should have the final decision on whether a new trade will be prescribed or not?
  3. Who should be consulted to seek input on whether a trade should be prescribed? How should this consultation take place? 
  4. How should overlaps in scopes of practice between a proposed trade and existing trades be considered?

Trade de-prescription criteria and process

Criteria
  1. What criteria should be included in the framework for de-prescribing trades? (For example, industry support for an apprenticeship program, labour market demand, existence of the trade in other provinces and territories, etc.)
  2. Should the criteria be different for compulsory and non-compulsory trades? 
Process
  1. Should there be a periodic review of whether trades are relevant? Who should be involved in the review?
  2. Who should be consulted to seek input on whether a trade should be de-prescribed? How should this consultation take place?
  3. What should the wind-down process be for trades that are de-prescribed and what should be considered?

Trade classification and re-classification criteria and process

Criteria
  1. What elements do you feel are essential to a compulsory trade compared to a non-compulsory trade?
  2. Should there be any changes to the current criteria for trade classification reviews set out in O. Reg. 315/18? Are the existing criteria the right criteria? Should they be given different weight? Is there anything missing?
  3. What role, if any, does risk of harm play in a trade classification/reclassification?
  4. Should the entire scope of practice for a trade be a criterion for classification or re-classification? Please explain why or why not.
  5. If the scope of practice for a compulsory trade is expanded after the trade is already compulsory, how should the new elements be considered?
Process
  1. Under what circumstances/conditions should the government update and evaluate trade classification? What conditions should trigger a trade classification review?
  2. Should a scope of practice review be a pre-requisite for a trade classification review?
  3. What role, if any, does the existence of other regulators play in the classification/re-classification process?
Initiatives that complement training of tradespeople
  1. What would the relationship be between continuing education and existing apprenticeship programs? How do these complement each other and how do they differ?
  2. What would be the objective and key success factors for complementary training?
  3. Describe how formal recognition of complementary training could be beneficial. What are the drawbacks? 
  4. What other kinds of training would assist and complement existing apprenticeship programs?  (for example, essential skills, mentorship/train-the-trainer skills, entrepreneurship, diversity/equity/anti-racism training, workplace harassment and discrimination prevention program, etc.)
  5. Should there be professional development criteria for journeypersons? If so, should there be a difference between these requirements for journeypersons in compulsory vs. non-compulsory trades? Please describe.
  6. What should the role of industry be in developing, assessing, and measuring complementary training? What other partners should be involved?

Phase 1 consultations (closed)

In Phase 1, the panel hosted focused discussions and accepted written submissions to engage with stakeholders on a new service delivery model, including:

  • reviewing existing college and ministry services and whether they are essential components of the new service delivery model
  • collecting input which could inform service delivery improvements and/or alternate delivery mechanisms

The panel heard from a broad range of industry stakeholders, including:

  • skilled tradespeople
  • apprentices
  • training delivery agents
  • unions
  • businesses of all sizes

Read the full report.

Your privacy

Your feedback will be reviewed by the Skilled Trades Panel and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to help inform the panel’s advice and recommendations to the minister.

We may use any personal information included with your submission, like your name or email address, to contact you to clarify your answers or ask for further information. You will not receive a formal response to your submission, but we will consider relevant comments received.

Stakeholder submissions will not be posted publicly. However, they will become part of the public record.

Your personal information will not be disclosed to any third party, except as required or authorized by law.

For questions on how personal information is protected to prevent unauthorized use or disclosure, please see our Privacy Statement or contact:

Ministry of Labour Freedom of Information and Privacy Office
400 University Avenue, 10th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1T7
416-326-7786

Updated: June 28, 2021
Published: October 06, 2020