Skilled Trades Ontario replaces Ontario College of Trades
The Ontario government passed Bill 288, replacing the Ontario College of Trades (OCT) with a new crown agency called Skilled Trades Ontario (STO).
Skilled Trades Ontario becomes the province’s industry-informed training authority to lead the promotion, research and development of the latest apprenticeship training and curriculum standards. It will also provide a seamless one window experience for client-facing services including apprentice registration, issuance of certificates and renewals, and conduct equivalency assessments all in one place with many services offered digitally, the MLTSD said in a media release.
“Skilled trades workers are the engine of our economy,” said MLTSD Minister Monte McNaughton. “Under the current system, responsibilities are shared between OCOT and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, causing confusion and added burden for people wanting to pursue a career in the skilled trades, which leads to employers struggling to find qualified skilled trades workers. That is why our government is building a skilled trades system that attracts more people into well-paying and meaningful careers that are truly life-changing.”
As recommended by the Skilled Trades Panel’s first report, Ontario will streamline and simplify the apprenticeship system by establishing a new Crown agency, MLTSB said. The Ministry will provide system oversight and be responsible for regulatory decisions, financial supports and take on responsibility for compliance and enforcement of the skilled trades, building on existing expertise, best practices and a robust inspector network that is already in place across the province.
“We heard loud and clear from apprentices, journeypersons and employers alike that OCOT is not working,” said McNaughton. “Following our expert Panel's recommendations, we are taking a thoughtful and measured approach by launching Skilled Trades Ontario, a new agency that will put the trades first.” These initiatives are part of the government’s Skilled Trades Strategy, which includes reducing the stigma related to a trades career, simplifying the apprenticeship system, and encouraging business participation.