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Dean Review Consultation Questions

Written submission to Dean review

Submission number: DR-30

Name of organisation making submission: DR-30 Hydro One Networks Inc.

Responses to questions in submission form


Section A - The Public Interest in this Review

1. What do you understand by public interest?

Acting with the interests of the people with an ability and right to decide what is for the greater good. The whole of the public must be eligible for consideration in respect of a matter which is asserted to be of public interest. Public Interest = Ontario's social well being, now and in the future, including health, safety and security of Ontarians, the economy, and environment.


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

Tax Payers / Consumers / Employers / Apprentices / Trades Persons / Education Providers / Labour Unions / Workers (Ontario's population/society - all groups)


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

Establish criteria for what considerations influence decisions. (eg. safety, economics) There should only be a common public interest.


4. Is the College currently protecting the public interest?

The public interest is being protected by: Enforcement & Discipline activities, Public Register, complaints process, Trade Boards, resources, etc.


5. How should the College advance the public interest?

Demonstrated evidence of further benefiting Ontario's social well being. Define and refine processes to represent Trades in Ontario with consideration for safety, quality, and economic impact. Priority should be for Trades where there is direct interaction with consumers.





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.

The SoPs have a significant impact, particularly in the construction part of our business, which involves a number of voluntary and compulsory trades. We have long-standing practices for the assignment of work to competent persons, which in some cases were determined by the Ontario Labour Relations Board. If OCOT’s application of SoPs conflicts with these practices, this could potentially lead to increased jurisdictional disputes and costly delays in work.


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

Yes, it is agreed that tasks associated with work in recognized trades can be categorized as such. Currently they are not. Depending on how core and peripheral are defined influence the need for overlap of tasks identified.


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.

The decision as to the elements to be included in SoPs is an important one. If they list all tasks, our concern is that the majority of the issues occur where peripheral elements overlap.


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

A review/change in a SoP should consider worker and public safety, consumer protection, efficiencies, cost, and effectiveness. Must ensure specific political or interest group agendas aren't adversely influencing decisions on SoP. Need to address terminology 1st, then establish a standard SOP, then do a review.


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

The SoP provisions should support the College’s diverse functions. However, it is a question of how they support them (e.g. Should enforcement consider core elements only? Should SoPs be considered in conjunction with other factors such as OLRB decisions?).


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

Not if the SoP includes all tasks, activities or functions. If the SoP includes all tasks, it should identify which tasks are subject to enforcement. Justification of enforced tasks should be predicated on safety, consumer protection, and quality standards (public interest).


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.

Potentially. It would depend on how the list would be used, and whether it would create inconsistency with any other standards from agencies such as the ESA.


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

Where the same task may be performed by apprentices and trades-persons certified in different trades (i.e. the same work is described in multiple trades).


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

Yes, there are some of the same tasks that may be performed by apprentices and journey persons from different trades. This may be impactive with regards to emergency response for electrical power interruptions. Power interruptions may be extended if there are jurisdictional constraints w/r to who can perform certain work. This can happen if particular trades are designated as compulsory and overlaps are not adequately identified. Also, overlapping SoPs can lead to costly disputes at the OLRB, and delays in getting work completed.


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?

Potentially. As mentioned, this interpretation suggest that there is a risk of unqualified people performing work that the compulsory trade certification is designed to address. If SoPs were based on "public interest" criteria - this should not be a problem.





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?

A person must be certified to do work in a compulsory trade. The designation should be based on protecting the public interest.


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?

This is unclear, as the College has not clarified/defined what is meant by the public interest or defined the criteria by which current classifications have been made. The following should be defined; the public interest, what processes protect the public interest, recognized, certified, qualified, voluntary, mandatory, ratio implementation, etc.


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


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?

Limiting compulsory certification to core elements would help to minimize the impact on our workplace, as it would reduce the potential for conflicts with our past practice and OLRB jurisdictional decisions.


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.

Not sure it's a model issue vs a criteria issue. If the review panel had clear accountabilities wrt to scope/criteria for reviews - it should be ok.


21. How should expert opinion be obtained?

There should be a process &/or criteria for recognizing an "expert" including opportunities to challenge the expert opinion.


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

The seven criteria are consistent with the public interest. However, the list is not exhaustive nor is it weighted.


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

No, there is no indication of specific requirements or evidence needed to meet the criteria.


24. Are the existing criteria the right criteria?

Additional criteria may be to include consideration for consumer protection, warranty of work, recognition of certification outside of Ontario, enforcement strategy, and infrastructure (& cost) to train & sponsor apprentices.





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?

No, work is assigned based on a number of factors, SoP being just one factor. Assignments also depend on past practice and our relationship with a certain trade or trades.


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

Yes. It has been our experience that more jurisdictional disputes involve peripheral elements. The core elements tend to be more distinguishable from one trade to the next.


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.

Potential conflict between decisions of OCOT and the OLRB are a major concern. There can only be one authority. OCOT should not penalize an employer for following direction from the OLRB. An employer should not be left in the untenable situation of having to disregard one or the other.





Section E - General Response and Comments

28. Please provide additional comments below, if any.

There should be clarification and/or criteria provided for how/why trades become prescribed in regulation and whether they are compulsory or voluntary. There should be criteria by which a review is initiated. The criteria for a Trade Board to request a review of a regulated trade by a review panel is unclear. Reviews should not be conducted based on lobby from a vocal minority without justification and empirical evidence.