TORONTO, May 28, 2014 /CNW/ - Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak
cannot win the current Ontario election by misleading the public about
the Ontario College of Trades, Unifor National President Jerry Dias
"The College of Trades is good for the trades. The decisions affecting
the skilled trades are being made by the trades for the trades, and not
by politicians like Tim Hudak," Dias said.
"It's about time the Conservatives quit bashing the college and rather
embraced the structure and worked with all the stakeholders to make it
a successful body," he said.
The college was set up in 2009. Previously, trade certification in the
province was handled by the provincial government.
The majority of trades in Ontario are voluntary. Out of 156 trade
classifications in Ontario, only 22 are compulsory. These tend to be
jobs where safety requires a skilled person do the work - such as
wiring a home for electricity, fixing a car or installing fire
"These are jobs where you want someone with a certificate to prove they
can do the job safely," said John Breslin, Unifor Skilled Trades
Hairdressing as a compulsory trade actually predates the college, having
been compulsory since 1944, he said.
Breslin said journeyperson to apprenticeship ratios are not a barrier
for entry into the skilled trades. The unionized sector invests
millions each year to provide apprenticeship training in both the
voluntary and compulsory trades, where the non-union sector invests
nothing - and yet complains to Hudak that they cannot create any jobs
because of ratios.
"Lowering ratios would allow employers to reduce their costs and the
quality of workmanship by laying off 200,000 skilled journeypersons and
replacing them with low cost, lower-skilled apprentices, all at the
expense of public safety," Breslin said.
The college is funded by membership fees from the compulsory trades,
meaning there is no cost to the taxpayer, unlike the previous structure
when the provincial government handled skilled trade issues, Dias said.
"We do not need the skilled trades being part of the government
bureaucracy of the past, where decisions were not made out of political
expediency and not always in the best interest of skilled trades,
apprentices or the public," he said.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing
more than 305,000 workers, including more than 40,000 in skilled
trades. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto
Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.
For further information:
please contact Unifor Communications Skilled Trade Director John.Breslin@Unifor.org or (cell) 416-316-0926, or Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at Stuart.Laidlaw@Unifor.org or (cell) 647-385-4054.