Ontario to modernize apprenticeship, wind-down College of Trades

by | Oct 24, 2018 | 2 comments

As part of changes to minimum wage and labour laws, Ontario’s government has pledged to modernize the province’s apprenticeship system, eliminate the College of Trades, and harmonize aspects of the apprenticeship system with other provinces.

While not all of the changes have a direct effect on the motive power apprenticeship programs, some changes may have an impact on the pathway.

Below are the changes included in the new legislation (text is from the Ontario Government):

Set all journeyperson to apprentice ratios at one-to-one

Currently,Ontario’s ratios are among the highest in Canada, limiting the number of apprentices an employer can train relative to the number of journeypersons they employ. Ontario’s journeyperson to apprentice ratios likely contribute to the higher costs seen in the construction sector.

For trades that are subject to ratios, the change to a one-to-one journeyperson to apprentice ratio would simplify and streamline how employers can hire and oversee apprentices, reduce costs and provide more flexibility for employers. Setting a single, lower ratio would better align Ontario with other provinces and territories in Canada.

Implementing a moratorium on trade classifications and reclassifications

There are currently 133 voluntary and 23 compulsory trades in Ontario. Anyone practicing a compulsory trade must have a Certificate of Qualification or be registered as an apprentice or journeyperson candidate and must be a member in good standing of the Ontario College of Trades, unless they are exempt under the legislation.

Trade classification and re-classification in Ontario is currently overly burdensome and can affect decisions to hire new staff, as well as companies’ ability to compete in the global marketplace. The moratorium would mitigate the risks of increasing regulatory burden and costs for businesses.

Winding down the Ontario College of Trades

There have been persistent challenges in how the skilled trades in Ontario are regulated, the amount of College membership fees that apprentices and journeypersons are subject to and the complexity of the rules apprentices, journeypersons and employers are bound by.

Apprenticeship in Ontario needs to be modernized and transformed to better meet the needs of apprentices, employers and industry. As part of the government’s commitment to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens, and to modernize apprenticeship in Ontario, the government is proposing to wind down the Ontario College of Trades.

If passed, the government intends to support an orderly transition and ensure continuity of services to employers, workers and apprentices. The Minister would have special powers in legislation, including the authority to take charge and control over the College’s Board of Governors and to appoint an administrator to act on her behalf.

The government intends to develop a replacement model for the regulation of the skilled trades and apprenticeship system in Ontario by early 2019.

The Ministry of Labour will continue to enforce the Occupational Health and Safety Act to ensure worker safety.

Further Improvements to the Apprenticeship System

The government will look at ways to promote the skilled trades in Ontario and to improve access to the apprenticeship system for both apprentices and employers. The government will make it easier to navigate and move through the system so that Ontario gets the skilled trades workforce it needs to build a thriving economy and create quality jobs.


  1. Andrew Ross

    At INDIE GARAGE we recognize that the Ontario government’s position statement on apprenticeship changes includes components that do not apply to the motive power apprenticeship, such as ratios–and state this in the article– but some changes will have an impact.

  2. John Norris

    Your article talks about high apprentice-to-journeyman ratios in Ontario. There are no ratios for automotive service in Ontario.

    Your article talks about no re-classfication of trades. Since 1988 Ontario has only approved one re-classification (sprinkler technician).

    Your article talks about dropping lower volume trades. So then anyone can deliver pizza yesterday and today be installing automotive safety glass.

    If you eliminate the College, you eliminate inspection/enforcement, so understand that the underground may flourish.

    Who is going to do the College’s work, now that 200 will be laid off ? No answer so far!!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *