College of Trades oversight transferred to Ministry of Labour

OCOT logo.
By Mike Davey
Toronto, Ontario — May 12, 2016 — A decision by the government of Ontario will see oversight of the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) transferred to the Ministry of Labour (MOL) from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU).
According to an official statement from OCOT, this change will not have an impact on the day-to-day operations of the College. In part, the statement reads: “The College will be undertaking its functions on a business as usual basis with no impact on College staff or members and will continue to serve its members and protect the public interest through our enforcement activities. We look forward to working with the Ministry of Labour as we fulfill our mandate  by regulating and promoting the skilled trades.”
Legislation was drawn up by the government of Ontario in 2009 to create OCOT. The idea was that, by forming OCOT, the skilled trades would be put on a similar footing with other regulated professions, such as doctors and nursers. 
The regulatory shift was not mentioned in the November 2015 review of OCOT, prepared by Tony Dean. Dean was appointed in October 2014 to perform a review of various aspects of OCOT, including scopes of practice and the process used for determining whether a particular trade should be voluntary or compulsory. Dean’s full report is available at this link
A memo was emailed recently to a number of stakeholders, describing the change to oversight by Ontario’s MOL.  “As the province moves forward with Mr. Dean’s recommendations, MOL has formally assumed responsibility for the College’s regulatory and administrative oversight,” according to the memo. “This will allow MOL to directly apply its expertise to complex labour matters, including the role the Ontario Labour Relations Board will play with regards to enforcement activities.”
The memo also indicated that the responsibility for apprenticeships will remain with MTCU. 

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