Major industry group comes out in support of existing trade ratios

    TORONTO, Oct. 10 /CNW/ - The Greater Toronto Electrical Contractors
Association and its labour counterpart Local Union 353 of the International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has come out strongly endorsing the current
three/one Journeyman to apprentice ratio for electricians.
    "We have taken a serious look at this issue" says Bob O'Donnell,
Executive Vice-President of the Association, "and once you consider the
economic demand and the need to provide a proper and safe training
environment, we do not believe there is any solid evidence to support lowering
the ratio for the electrical trade."
    Some groups have called for the ratio to be dropped to one/one which if
successfully completed would triple the number of electricians in the Province
in 15 years. There is no economic evidence to support the increase. In fact,
the Construction Sector Council forecast a modest one percent yearly growth
for the electrical trade between 2008-2016.
    "The notion that there will be a huge exodus from the industry from
retirements is also inaccurate." says O'Donnell. The same sector council study
states the average age for electricians in Ontario is 40 years old. "To
properly train an apprentice to become an electrician you need a safe and well
supervised work environment," says Joe Fashion, Business Manager of IBEW LU
353. "In a one/one work environment, the apprentice will be assigned
repetitive menial tasks, essentially become a helper. The current three/one
environment, the mentoring and supervision is a shared responsibility so the
apprentice may learn a progression of skills while the journeymen also remain
    The existing ratio of three/one only applies to those contractors with
more than nine electricians, and for those smaller the ratio is based on a
sliding scale. The majority of contractors employ less that 5 electricians,
adds O'Donnell.
    In a report, Electrical Apprenticeship: Building on Success, presented to
the provincial government, the two organizations state that more attention
should be devoted to increasing the completion rates of existing registered
electrical apprentices. The report can be viewed at

    The Greater Toronto Electrical Contractors Association represents
approximately 400 contractors in all sectors of the construction/service
business in the GTA. The IBEW LU 353 represents 8,000 electrical workers
(including 1,880 apprentices) and 2,000 retirees.

For further information:

For further information: Bob O'Donnell, Executive Vice-President,
Greater Toronto Electrical Contractors Association, (416) 391-3226 Ext. 313;
Joe Fashion, Business Manager, IBEW LU 353, (416) 510-3530

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