There was a protest recently at Queen’s Park regarding Bill 70. Following is some information that has been prepared by Local 793 regarding the legislation.
Q: I heard the proposed legislation contained in Schedule 17 of Bill 70 will impact every compulsory tradesperson in the province. Is that true?
A: The amendments proposed in Schedule 17 of Bill 70 may have more of an impact on some compulsory trades than others. Work falling within a scope of practice of a compulsory trade which poses no risk of harm to the public or other workers on a project may be deemed to be work that can be performed by someone who does not have a Certificate of Qualification in that trade.
Q: I invested 6,000 hours of my life to earn a Certificate of Qualification to operate a mobile crane on construction projects throughout Ontario. Is it true that I could lose my job to someone who doesn’t have any qualifications at all?
A: No. Per the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations for Construction Projects, your Certificate of Qualification as a Hoisting Engineer – Mobile Crane Operator 1 designation is absolutely essential to operate a mobile crane with a maximum hoisting capacity greater than 30,000 pounds on any construction project in Ontario.
Q: Will Schedule 17 of Bill 70 deregulate the compulsory trades in Ontario?
A: No. Schedule 17 of Bill 70 deals strictly with proposed amendments to the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act – there are absolutely no proposed amendments to any regulations which currently prescribe that certain work must be performed by an individual with a Certificate of Qualification in a compulsory trade.
Q: I thought the original intent of the Ontario College of Trades was to have a governing body that put more power and control in the hands of tradespeople. Now I hear that if Schedule 17 of Bill 70 as proposed the College of Trades Appointments Council will be responsible for classifying which trades shall be compulsory and which trades shall be voluntary. Is this true?
A: As in the past, trade boards will maintain their ability to initiate the classification review process if they want to see their voluntary trade become compulsory and vice-versa. Schedule 17 of Bill 70 proposes that the Appointments Council will be able to appoint a Classification Panel of five individuals to ultimately decide the fate of the classification review. As things stand now, classification review decisions are decided by a review panel comprised of three individuals appointed by the Board of Governors and the Divisional Board for the trade. If anything, the proposal to increase the number of individuals on the panel from three to five may increase the depth of knowledge and experience on the panel resulting in decisions which are fair and transparent.
Q: I hear that if Schedule 17 of Bill 70 goes through as proposed my jobsite will become less safe. Is this accurate?
A: As of May 2016, the Ontario Ministry of Labour took over the regulatory and administrative oversight of the Ontario College of Trades. The Ministry of Labour’s mission is to “…advance safe, fair and harmonious workplace practices…” and is the primary reason the Prevention Council was established under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in 2011. As such, the Ontario government would not propose amendments to any legislation with the intent to make construction projects any less safe than they already are.