Ontario College of Trades mandate is to collect taxes, not to ensure public safety

TORONTO, June 3, 2014 /CNW/ - In a recent release issued to media, Unifor President Jerry Dias made the unbelievable claim the Ontario College of Trades is good for the trades in Ontario. He couldn't be more wrong.

In response, Karen Renkema, Chair of the Stop the Trades Tax Campaign, issued the following statement:

"The rhetoric offered by Unifor in support of the College of Trades is disappointing but not surprising. Unifor is certainly not the first union to come to the defence of the College and will certainly not be the last. Claims that the College of Trades is important to public safety are baseless and little more than a scare tactic to frighten voters.

"Electrical work, plumbing, and many other skilled trades required mandatory licenses long before the College of Trades came into being. To imply this will no longer be the case if the College is abolished, is highly misleading and echoes the kind of false rhetoric the College of Trades itself regularly uses to frighten Ontarians.

"To suggest the College is increasing public safety is patently false. The fact is College inspectors do not have the legal ability (or expertise) to verify the quality or safety of the work tradespeople are performing. Their only purpose when stepping into a workplace or on a job site is to confirm payment of dues.

"If the public wants to feel secure and safe in the work that tradespeople are doing they should focus on the already existing regulatory bodies and institutions charged with ensuring the safety and quality of work done by tradespeople, such as the Electrical Safety Authority, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority, Municipal Building Code Inspectors, Ministry of Labour, Tarion, OMVIC and many others.

"The money taken from tradespeople by the College provides no value to Ontarians or tradespeople, and simply vanishes into the College's Bay Street bureaucracy. We need honesty in this election when it comes to creating jobs for tradespeople. We need to acknowledge Ontario would be better without the College."

The Stop the Trades Tax campaign was launched in 2011 to stop the Ontario government from imposing a new, multi-million dollar trades tax on tradespeople and employers. The campaign has grown to 47 organizations, whose members represent approximately 200,000 skilled tradespeople and over 8,700 businesses across Ontario. For more information please visit www.stopthetradestax.ca

SOURCE: Progressive Contractors Association of Canada

For further information: Erik Waddell, erik@teamplaybook.ca, 613-277-9927; Karen Renkema, Chair of the Stop the Trades Tax Campaign, krenkema@pcac.ca, 416-768-4848


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