Ottawa Construction Association Concerned Ontario College of Trades will force Quebec model on tradespeople

OTTAWA, Sept. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ottawa Construction Association, a new member of the Ontario Construction Employers Coalition campaign to urge the McGuinty government to shut down the Ontario College of Trades, is raising concerns about the risk of the College leading to a Quebec-style construction industry.

"We look at Québec's 100 per cent regulated construction market and we're deeply concerned about the impacts of increased trade worker and industry regulation," said OCA Chair Dean Drevniok, President of Frecon Construction, a mid-sized general contracting firm in Eastern Ontario. "This is going to cause a significant regulatory burden, decreased productivity due to strict scope of work definitions, the increased cost of construction and the increased incentive for work to be performed in the underground economy."

Québec economist Pierre Fortin estimates that the Québec model results in a 10.5 per cent increase in overall building costs and this translates into an annual tab of $3.4 billion and the loss of 52,000 jobs. Simply put, this means taxpayers will pay more for new schools, roads, homes and condos.

"Ontarians don't want to see a Québec-style construction industry created here," said Sean Reid, Chair of the Ontario Construction Employers Coalition. "We want to see innovation and job growth, not higher costs and crippling regulation."

The Ontario College of Trades is proposing to impose the following annual membership fee ranges:

$50 - $100 for Apprentices
$100 -$200 for Journeypersons
$100 - $600 for Employers depending on whether they are small, medium or large
$50 - $100 for a new class of Tradesworkers (compulsory and voluntary)

"The College's proposed membership fees on employers and trade workers is an $84 million tax grab," said Drevniok. "The College will be adding red‐tape when the entire world is trying to eliminate red tape and streamline the process for getting skilled workers into the industry."

The OCA is joining 17 other organizations across Ontario that have united against the Ontario College of Trades as the Ontario Construction Employers Coalition. Earlier this year, the Coalition launched the website as part of this campaign.

"The OCA feels as strongly as we do that compulsory certification of trades such as painting and dry walling will mean that companies who have been in business for years will be forced to shut down," said Reid. "This will drive valuable people out of skilled trades."

In a formal submission to the Ontario College of Trades, the Coalition outlined several concerns, including a lack of transparency and information around the College's budgetary requirements, future business plans, and how the College will be financially accountable to Ontarians.

"If Ontario truly wants to promote skilled trades, it should shut down the College, and scrap the trades tax," added Reid. "The College is a bureaucratic boondoggle that must be stopped."

About the Ontario Construction Employers Coalition

Members of the Ontario Construction Employers Coalition employ over 85,000 skilled tradespeople across Ontario.

The Coalition includes:

  • Conestoga Heavy Construction Association
  • Durham Region Heavy Contractors Association
  • Grand Valley Construction Association
  • Greater Toronto Sewer & Watermain Contractors Association
  • Hamilton & District Heavy Construction Association
  • HCAT - Heavy Construction Association of Toronto
  • Heavy Construction Association of Regional Niagara
  • LDCA - London and District Construction Association
  • Merit Openshop Contractors Association of Ontario
  • OEL - Ontario Electrical League
  • OGCA - Ontario General Contractors Association
  • ORBA - Ontario Road Builders Association
  • OSWCA - Ontario Sewer & Watermain Construction Association
  • Ottawa Construction Association
  • PCA - Progressive Contractors Association of Canada
  • RESCON - Residential Construction Council of Ontario
  • Sarnia Heavy Construction Association

SOURCE: Ontario Construction Employers Coalition

For further information:

Danna O'Brien, Playbook Communications,

Sean Reid, Progressive Contractors Association of Canada and Coalition Chair,

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Ontario Construction Employers Coalition

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