Dean Review Consultation Questions

Written submission to Dean review

Submission number: DR-15

Name of individual making submission: DR-15 Thomas Reid

Responses to questions in submission form

Section A - The Public Interest in this Review

1. What do you understand by public interest?

The Public Interest, including issues such as Consumer Protection, Health & Safety and the environment was the main pillar in the establishment of the Ontario College of Trades.

2. Who should the College serve? Who is “the public” in the public interest and what groups make up the public?

In the case of the OCOT, the Public are clients or consumers of Trades work. There are no specific groups that make up the Public. The Public are a wide spectrum of ordinary people and the OCOT issues that relate to a Community or Province all have an impact on the Public Interest.

3. How should the College make decisions in the public interest where different segments of the public may have opposing interests?

As I outlined in question #2, I don't see different segments of the public, however, I do see the public having opposing views and/or interests on some issues. If there is a College issue to be dealt with it should be done following the OCTAA and in a fair and consistent manner.

4. Is the College currently protecting the public interest?

No, under the present structure it can't. With 155 or so "Trades" in Ontario and only 22 Compulsory Trades who are members of the OCOT, its the Voluntary Trades coupled with some exclusions and exemptions that potentially puts the Public Interest and its component parts at risk.

5. How should the College advance the public interest?

By having ALL Trades as members of OCOT. This means the harmonization of Trades back to authentic Trades. This also means the repeal of the Ministerial Regulation as well as an exhaustive review of the other Exemptions and Exclusions.

Section B - Issues Related to Scopes of Practice (SoPs)

6. What impact do SoPs in regulation have on your daily work activities or on the way you conduct business? What aspects of an SoP are important to the work of your trade? Please explain.

They should have a major impact on how daily work activities are performed and the way a Company conducts its business. But in their present format they are so flawed and inconsistent that they cannot be used in this way. All aspects of a SoP are important to any Trade. As a first step there is a need for Trade Boards to draft their SoP using a formal standard template for review by the Divisional Board.

7. Do you agree with the suggestion that trades may have core elements as well as peripheral elements?

Yes, but I feel there is a need to re-describe these elements. ALL "authentic" Trades do have "Specific Responsibilities" and "Overlapping Responsibilities". This should be the case today regardless of the Trades Compulsory versus Voluntary status.

8. What should be the key elements of an SoP? In particular, should the SoP for a trade list all of the tasks, activities or functions in which an apprentice should be trained, only those that are unique to the trade, or only those that may pose a risk of harm to the public, tradespeople or other workers on the job? Please explain.

An SoP for all authentic Trades should not be brief or vague but they have to be absolutely comprehensive enough to identify the Specific Responsibilities and, identify and detail the Overlapping Responsibilities of the Trade. Completion of this would go to the needs of apprenticeship in school and on-the-job training, curriculum development, exemption testing, Jurisdictional disputes. ALL "authentic" Trades have the potential to cause risk and/or harm to the Public and other workers.

9. How should a review or change in SoP be carried out?

All SoPs should be initially drafted and compiled by the Trade Board of each authentic Trade using a formal standard template. Once an SoP is drafted for ALL authentic Trades they should be reviewed by the appropriate Divisional Board. Once approved they should be put into the system for use by all who need them. All SoPs should be reviewed after one or two years to check for errors, omissions, technology or refining. Once finalized they should be put back into the system and reviewed by the Trade Board on a 4/5 year cycle.

10. Can or should the existing SoP provisions support the College’s diverse functions (e.g., apprenticeship training, enforcement, classification reviews)? Please explain.

No. In their present format they are all too inconsistent, some are extensive, some are too brief and none would assist the OCOT support these diverse functions.

11. Should the entire SoP for a compulsory trade be enforceable or be subject to enforcement? Please explain.

Not just for Compulsory Trades. If ALL authentic Trades were members of the OCOT then yes the entire SoP with Specific and Overlapping Responsibilities should be enforceable. However, the Overlapping Responsibilities will need detail and definition reflecting the logic and reason for the overlap especially for apprentice training and enforcement purposes.

12. Could the College benefit from a distinct list of compulsory activities that may pose a risk of harm to the public, tradespeople or other workers on the job? Please explain.

Yes, but these activities should be identified in the SoP. There are some elements of risk in all authentic Trades activities. However, these elements of risk will vary from Trade to Trade. ALL authentic Trades potentially pose a risk or harm to the Public or other workers regardless of todays Compulsory or Voluntary status.

13. What is your understanding of what an overlap between SoPs is?

An Overlapping Responsibility outlines activities performed by one authentic Trade that maybe Specific to another authentic Trade regardless of todays Compulsory or Voluntary status. However there has to be enough details contained in the text of the Overlapping Responsibility such as the logic for and reason why to allow for proper apprentice training, safety & health and enforcement.

14. Do overlaps between SoPs in regulation have an impact on your daily work or on the way you conduct business? Please explain.

They probably do, but in todays format they do not do this efficiently or effectively. They are too poorly written and inconsistent to allow an existing SoP to be used for anything. In fact they probably confuse more daily work functions for the Trades and business plans for an Employer than they are worth.

15. Does the application of the third legal interpretation principle on overlapping SoPs pose a risk of harm to the public, tradespeople, or other workers on the job? Please explain. If so, what can and should be done about it?

Absolutely. Right now we have only 22 Compulsory Trades as mandated members of the OCOT. We have the Ministerial Regulation that exempted individuals who held a C of Q on April 2013 and some have a mind set that Voluntary Trades don't have to join the OCOT. So with this loose structure it is absolutely clear that any persons functioning in a Voluntary capacity and not a member of the OCOT pose a distinct threat to the Public and others. The OCOT needs to have a harmonized list of authentic Trades that when they graduate they are all Compulsory by default. All authentic Trades have an impact on the Public.

Section C - Classification or Reclassification of Trades as Compulsory or Voluntary

16. What makes a compulsory trade compulsory and what makes a voluntary trade voluntary?

Nothing, In reading some historical background material it seemed Compulsory certification was bestowed on a Trade if it had an impact on the Public Interest or Public Health & Safety, sounds familiar. When and if OCOT move to having only authentic Trades and knowing that ALL Trades have an impact on the Public Interest, those Trades should be Compulsory by default. Just the same as the other thirty + Professional Colleges in Ontario.

17. Is the current classification of trades as either compulsory or voluntary aligned with the College’s duty to serve and protect the public interest?

No, ALL authentic Trades should be members on the OCOT. Right now we only have 22 of 155 Trades as mandatory members of OCOT. We have the Ministerial Exemption the exempted all individuals who worked in a Voluntary Trade and had their C of Q on April, 2013. There are a number of exclusions and/or exemptions as well as other interferences from TSSA, CWB, MTCU & OLRB, these issues all need a full detailed discussion.

18. Is it reasonable to assume that there may be elements in the SoP for a trade that are inherently hazardous or that may pose a risk of harm to the public, tradespeople, or other workers on the job?

Yes, but this hazard would vary depending on the Trade, some would have more exposure than others. If there are hazards that exist then the SoP should identify them, then that would go to safety training, curriculum development and apprenticeship training.

19. Could compulsory certification be limited to either the core elements of a trade or those tasks, activities, or functions that may pose a risk of harm to the public, tradespeople or other workers on the job? What kind of impact would these approaches have on your daily work or on the way you conduct business?

Not really, its the Specific Responsibilities of a Trade that makes the Trade unique and its the Overlapping Responsibilities that allow a Trade to function more effectively. Ontario / OCOT needs to get to about 70/75 authentic Trades, all should have a C of A, C of Q, Red Seal and Compulsory. This would allow the Trades to be a more professional career choice for youth. This coupled with a fully functional SoP would make safety & health, apprenticeship training, enforcement, curriculum maintenance, standards and staff resources to be utilized in a much more efficient and effective, manner.

20. Should the College continue to rely on an adjudicative review panel approach (i.e., the Ontario Labour Relations Board model) or should a different model be considered? Please explain.

Yes. As we use them for Ratio Reviews they seem to work fine. If we moved to authentic Compulsory Trades as I outlined in question #19 the Review Panel for Classification Reviews would be eliminated. If we are to make decisions around resolving our Jurisdictional disputes then the OCOT should deal with their own disputes, build a data base of case law, however this Jurisdictional Review Panel has to come from the OCOT.

21. How should expert opinion be obtained?

The Trades themselves are the experts, most if not all information can be found there. With disputes, most if not all disputes will get resolved, however, if there is a dispute that does not get resolved the Trades involved should go before an OCOT Jurisdictional Review Panel, state their case based on their SoP, case law and Trade history. The OCOT Review Panel makes their final and binding decision and informs all the stakeholders.

22. Are the current criteria for trade classification reviews set out in O. Reg. 458/11 consistent with the public interest? Please explain.

No. Based on my answers to previous questions, the Public Interest or Consumer Protection will never be accomplished with the present structure of Compulsory versus Voluntary Trades and the gap in membership. The system is backwards, if we had authentic Trades that were Compulsory by default we would not have this issue to deal with. All Trades would then be members of the OCOT and fall under their jurisdiction.

23. Are the criteria specific, clear and measurable enough to inform you of what data and evidence are needed to meet those criteria?

No. I refer you to my answer in questions #19 & #22.

24. Are the existing criteria the right criteria?

No. I refer you to my answer in questions #19 & #22.

Section D - Decisions of the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB)

25. Do the scopes of practice (SoPs) in regulation reflect the way in which work is actually assigned in your trade or sector?

Not sure, but in their current format if they are used they will probably cause more harm than good, thus the need to go before the OLRB.

26. Do you agree with the notion that most jurisdictional disputes arise from peripheral elements of the trades? Please explain.

Most likely. If we had authentic Trades with Specific Responsibilities and Overlapping Responsibilities, regardless of todays Compulsory or Voluntary status, the Overlapping Responsibilities have to have enough detail and definition such as the logic or reason for the overlap. This would facilitate the reduction or elimination of such disputes.

27. What consideration should the College give, if any, to the decisions made by the OLRB in jurisdictional or work assignment disputes under the Labour Relations Act? If the College were to adopt the OLRB's decisions, what impact would that have on your trade and the way you conduct business? Please explain.

These decisions really only apply to the Construction Sector. If all the authentic Trades were members of the OCOT and Compulsory then this material is of some value. These Jurisdictional disputes resolved by the OLRB could be incorporated into the Specific or Overlapping Responsibilities of the new SoPs. They would also be of some value to a Jurisdictional Dispute Review Panel hearing as part of the Trade history and deliberations

Section E - General Response and Comments

28. Please provide additional comments below, if any.

Presently with the 155 Trades in Ontario a large segment, approximately 95, only exist in Ontario, most if not all have no C of Q, no Red Seal and therefore there is no mobility. Through harmonization and moving to a list of authentic Trades whereby they would all have a C of A, C of Q, Red Seal and Compulsory the OCOT would be providing security to protect the Public Interest, provide a professional and secure career path for youth, provide a better focus for in school and on-the-job Apprenticeship training, make the Trade safer for the Public and others and reduce the cost of maintaining a lot of Trades that we don't really need. It also has to be understood that such a harmonization project has to have a transitional time frame attached to it. The individuals working in any Trades that becomes harmonized back into its main Trade should have a number of options available to them, The following are just three and there may be more. 1) They can opt to be assessed by the OCOT and establish what, if any, training needs would be required to fit the individual into the main Trade and a mechanism has to be provided to allow these individuals close this gap. 2) They can simply opt to "challenge" the trade test and if successful be reclassified into the main Trade. Or. 3) They can simply stay where they are and their Trade and Name should be placed on file with the OCOT, they would continue to function as before and their name would only be removed from the file upon their retirement. However, any new Apprentices would all have to enter and be trained in the main Trade. The OCOT would then cease to fund all aspects of these harmonized trades. If we could ever get to a harmonized list of authentic Trades there are still various cultural differences between sectors to apprenticeship as a whole, some sectors do a good job and others simply opt out. There are also different views held by some Employers on the retention and use of Trades at their individual locations, specifically in the Industrial sector for maintenance or new projects at their location. As such the Industrial Exemption has to be kept in place to stop the encroachment of similar Trades from different Sectors. This Industrial Exemption provides for employees in a Trade in one sector not to have their employment put at risk employees in the same Trade from another sector simply for financial or irresponsible gains. The Ontario College of Trades was put in place to allow the Trades to become self regulated. This is nearly impossible when a large portion of Trades are not members and with the different groups who all seem to want to be involved in this. First MTCU has to start cutting the strings between itself and the OCOT, not to suggest that the Minister should not be involved, just less. Similarly with the TSSA, who also feel the need to regulate some Trades, I feel they should regulate the equipment and the Trades involved in installing and maintaining that equipment have to complete a separate module of certification to accommodate this, certainly not at the level it is today. In the future if we could have all authentic Trades with a C of A, a C of Q, a Red Seal and Compulsory, having a full and thorough SoP then the OCOT should be the adjudicator of all Jurisdictional disputes. I am sure there are other groups who are road blocks to the OCOT being fully functional so an exhaustive discussion should happen around all these groups. All of these impediments put the Public Interest at risk. Finally there are some Trades who will not find a home through harmonization, the OCOT has to decide if we need another classification of "Certified Occupation", if so these Trades can gravitate to this location, if not then the MTCU can have responsibility for Certified Occupations and look after them, after all they created them. However, Certified Occupations should not be allowed to access any monies set aside by Governments for Apprenticeship loans, grants or credits.