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Dean Review Consultation Questions

Written submission to Dean review

Submission number: DR-44

Name of organisation making submission: DR-44 Doug Leitch

Responses to questions in submission form


Section A - The Public Interest in this Review

1. What do you understand by public interest?

Public interest is the responsibility of a government bodies not by a self governed non profit organization.

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

As a membership based organization, the College should directly serve the membership and the best interest of the members. Revenues are generated from the members, many of whom are mandatory and must pay the membership fee to retain their license to ensure their ability to continue to earn an income in their chosen field and a profession that we have invested much time, training and money to be a member of. Initially it was communicated that the college was similar to other professions and would advocate for the best interest of the construction industry professionals.


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

As a membership based organization, the college should make significant decisions with the input from all of the members in good standing. That being said, the college should represent the membership and as such the a significant & of Board should be elected from different factions of the membership, ensuring all interests are represented and no special interest party has control or the optics of control. Decisions should be transparent, with disclosure, accountability and consultation of membership. A fully appointed board contravenes the normal practice of membership based organizations and effectively decisions are being made by non-members with no vested interest in the outcome or operation of the College. Board meetings should be open and engagement of members welcomed ensuring that their voice is heard. As members it is our livelihood, our income our membership revenues, if this structure is being statutorily imposed we need to be protected and have a say in decisions instead of persons who do not do the job, who have no vested interest and do not understand the professions involved. In a free market economy when the best of the profession are empowered and when high standards of professionalism are upheld the secondary benefit is that the public interest is served.


4. Is the College currently protecting the public interest?

It is my understanding that the College is a membership based NGO/NFP and as such should have been established to protect the best interest of the membership. As I said above when the standards and safeguards are upheld within each profession and the qualification process the public interest is served by having highly qualified professionals whose priority is quality work and safety. In this regard the public interest is protected. However there are many regulatory bodies whose objectives are to protect the public interest such as ESA, Building Inspectors, Ministry of Labour, Better Business Bureau etc. The public interest is also protected when red-seal trades receive proper training, education and oversite. Currently I believe the College is not protecting the public interest nor is it protecting the interests of the membership. The college has no involvement in the education process or apprenticeship training ensuring high standards of professionalism, not it is their responsibility to inspect the work of the membership. The guise of protecting the public interest is ridiculous and appears to be a political spin. Not all trades are mandatory members of the college, so the public doesn't need to be protected from them just the red-seal trades? As per the statute establishing the College they have the power only for enforcement on it's members, just designated accountants and all of the other mandated professional membership organizations. Another issue is that the College has no enforcement power over any/all Quebec trades people for whom their license was issued by or registered apprentices of the Province of Quebec, these tradespersons working in Ontario are exempt for the OCOT as per the OCOTAA 2009. I guess the public doesn't need protecting from tradespersons who receive their qualifications in other provinces, just Ontario.


5. How should the College advance the public interest?

By advocating for professionalism, quality standards in training and examinations and ensuring that the membership is informed of all key information that affects their profession, safety and working conditions. When we ensure the quality of the work done, the adherence to the highest levels of safety standards and good business practices - then and only then will the public interest by upheld. By implementing multiple levels of costly and time consuming bureaucracy, licensing, taxation and fees and taking $ out of the pockets of tradespersons - the public interest is diminished and this feeds the underground economy, the untrained and cheap handyman and fraudsters. The best way to advance the public interest is to ensure out tradespersons are supported, properly trained and the public is aware of the benefits of ensuring proper professionals are hired and aware of the risks of unqualified workers.





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.

If we do not pay our fees we will not receive our Certificate of Qualifications which means if you work on the tools you can no longer legally work in Ontario. Our investment in our profession is lost we lose the ability to earn a living and support our families. I feel that none of the Scope of Practice of the OCOT are important to me because we do not need another layer of Red Tape in order to do our jobs. I am an electrician and now have 3 layers of red tape. They are the OCOT, the MIL and the ESA. I pay to the OCOT a license fee, I pay 2 license fee to ESA for one for my master electrician license and then my electrical contractor license fee in order to preform electrical work in Ontario. We as electricians now have 3 levels of enforcement the MOL, the ESA and now the OCOT. Do we need 3 levels and what public interst is served other than collecting my "indirect taxation" in the form of licesnes? I still believe that enforcement for all trades should be done by the MOL and all electrical enforcement done by the ESA. ESA are trained professionals and know the intricacies of the Electical profession, the OCOT enforcement officers have no clue, have never done the job and are not qualified in any way to be on an electrical jobsite. We as electricians do not require the OCOT and our intersts are not being served by the OCOT which mandates membership for some electricians by exempts those working for Hydro One and other power generating companies.


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

This sounds like something that would be said by someone who has no clue what many tradespersons do. The membership of the OCOT is so varied it is laughable, from bakers to hair stylists to plumbers, electricians and mechanics. The similarities are the "red sea" there are many more differences than similarities. Yes there are peripheral elements like safety but even those vary immensely from tradesperson to tradesperson. Other Colleges in Ontario represent one cross section of a specified profession, nurses, teachers, accountants, engineers, doctors however in the College of Trades they throw together everyone like we do the same jobs, these professions are vastly different, the training & qualifications vastly different, how we work is vastly different and the interest of each group is different. It is more than comparing apples and oranges it is more like apples, flowers, bolts and seashells.


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 SoP should list the core competencies that an apprentice should exhibit consistently to be considered adequately trained and competent to perform the job requirements safely and with professionalism. As a membership based organization, representing the best interest of the membership - the best interest of the members should be the key elements of the college. This isn't a regulatory body, this isn't a training institution but only a membership based organization representing the members and the best interests of the membership. The lists have been already set up by the MTCU, so why duplicate and re-invent the wheel again. The Trades are already over regulated and we have other regulated entities that deal with risks of harm to public or tradespeople or workers which is the MOL and WSIB. The public interest is the objective of these organizations and of the government. It is law that every company must have all the proper mandatory safety training in place, companies are now by law to have their workers training in working at heights, WHMIS, fall arrest, Health & Awareness course for workers & supervisors/foremen and all other safety requirements. So in my opinion the public is more than protected from harm and more than protected from us highly trained tradespersons who pay for our licenses, pay our fees, and keep our qualifications current.


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

As I said that membership should be consulted and have the ability to provide input. All membership representing all sectors of the trade (secialties, union, non-union, urban, rural) should have opportunity for input, should be provided with regular updates of changes, proposed changes and emerging issues.


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

The more we overstep our organizational objectives the more costly the organization becomes to administer and as the administration costs skyrocket = the membership fees skyrocket!! If membership costs become cost prohibitive the house of cards will start to crumble. The legislation establishing the OCOT outlined core objectives of the OCOT and the diverse functions undertaken by the OCOT need fall within this legislation and not overstep their responsibilities, they need to ensure that functions undertaken are within the best interest of the membership whom will be responsible for the cost of paying for these activities and their willingness to further contribute membership fees. Membership fees cannot increase exponentially or this will become prohibitive to attracting new membership and create hardship for trades.


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

I feel that any and all enforcement of all trades should be done by the MOL. The only enforcement powers the OCOT have is with regard to their members and no one else, so why have this at all. The OCOT is not a regulatory body, they are a Not-for-profit organization not part of the government, but this fundamental organizational structure is not clear and many people have not idea if they are governmental or non-governmental. The MOL has the power for enforcement for all of the voluntary and mandatory trades and the Quebec Trades people including Quebec apprentices ( which are exempt from the OCOT). They have the power that the OCOT does not have.


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.

I do not believe it will. Once if you are not a member of the OCOT then the they have no powers to do any enforcement on any other works other than members. The OCOT as per the OCOTAA 2009 (http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_09o22_e.htm#BK12) states "To receive and investigate complaints against members of the College" As a membership based organization - their primary objective should be to represent the best interest of the membership! The government bodies are responsible for the public interest, the job site safety issues and ensuring adherence to the Labour laws.


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

I feel that the enforcement overlaps other organizations like MOL and ESA for the electrical trade. I feel this is not necessary to have 3 levels of enforcement which as a member of the OCOT I am paying for enforcement thru my fees, paying for enforcement thru my ESA license fees and then thru taxation for the MOL inspector. This in my opinion is no cost saving for me as a member of the College or as a tax payer.


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

Yes. Once again enforcement and I feel the OCOT is operating outside of the parameters of the act that they must follow when it comes to enforcement.


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?

The OCOT has, in an email, stated that they are a non profit organization, as such one would assume they should the comply with the non profit act. As a non-profit membership based organization the directors or board members should be elected by the membership from the membership. The OCOT currently has not one elected board member or board of governor, they are all appointed and there is no requirement that they even be members. If the OCOT is making claim that it is self governed by the trades how do they do this when the board is fully appointed and there is no provision that they even be members. Our board members are supposed to be representing us at the annual general meeting as per the act but they are not members and have no vested interest in the decision made by the OCOT; it isn't their money, regulations do not affect them or their livelihood. We the membership should be receiving a list of names that have put their names forward to run for the available positions, representation should be structures so that no special interest group can dominate and that representatives come from all sectors (trades, union, non-union, urban, rural etc..)





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 compulsory trade is one holds a red seal and was made a compulsory trade by the MTCU years ago. They are mandatory because we need our certificate of qualification to work, this the OCOT has leverage to ensure that we pay our membership fees or we lost the ability to earn a live as a trades person. A voluntary trade is one that gives you the option to get your certificate of qualifications or not to get your certificate of qualification and trades where no red-seal certificate is required and training is less formal and less structured.


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- As a membership base organization the OCOT has a responsibility to represent the best interests of the membership and as a secondary affect as a representing the membership this ensures the public interest is protected however protecting the public interest is the primary objective of other regulated organizations and government bodies first and foremost so no good comes from duplicating these efforts at the detriment of the members. We pay for permits and licenses to ensure that inspection and enforcement is done at arms length - building inspectors and electrical inspectors, MOL and gov't enforcement officers ensure that there is independent third party inspections protecting the public interest. A self governing membership based organizations governs the members ensuring quality, safe practices and adherence to regulations and codes of conduct. Saying the OCOT protects the public interst from its members is also implying that the only bad tradespersons are those who are members of the OCOT and the public needs to be protected from those highly qualified professional tradespersons who pay their fees, who keep their training current and ho have a vested interest in making sure the standards of the profession are upheld and that tehy would readily risk their livelihood. This is a conflict of interest - advocacy to ensure that the public knows the standard of membership and benefits of qualified professionals would be a better position to take.


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?

It would be ridiculous to assume that there are not elements of a trade that a inherently hazardous. We have the Ministry of Labour that ensures Safety officers and enforcement officers address these issues, we have regular WSIB and safety training to ensure we are aware of hazards and risks. I feel as per the OCOTAA 2009 they are operating outside of the parameters set forth in the legislation, which is very clear on what enforcement activities they can engage in. This in my opinion is harassing businesses and trades people. We need to remembers that the only enforcement the OCOT can do is in regards to their members only. Businesses of Ontario, Quebec trades people, Quebec apprentices and volunteer trades are not members of the OCOT which they have no power to do anything at all. It is the MOL that does that enforcement.


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?

I believe that most of the trades that are on the list of trades do not need to be made compulsory and it would be ridiculous to make 157 trades in Ontario required to hold a certificate of qualification and detrimental to the economy and ability to attract new persons into the trades as well as give another advantage to those living in Quebec and working in Ontario. If the College has its way to have every trade made compulsory, then that is going to drive up the cost to have work done to a level of being unfordable. This would have a complete opposite effect of protecting the Public interest by encouraging and propeling the underground economy.


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.

 


21. How should expert opinion be obtained?

We are the experts on our fields/trades so the opinion should be coming from us the stakeholders that pay into the OCOT and not from setting in an office who has never done the work or doesn't understand the tradespersons.


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

Once again it is the interest of the membership not necessarily that of the public.


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

In my opinion no. We the membership need to have more input and representation in the OCOT. The organization is NOT transparent and sectors of the membership have no trust or respect for the process that brought the OCOT into volition.


24. Are the existing criteria the right criteria?

No all sectors of the membership were not engaged in the process and establishment of the criteria. The process was not transparent and accountability mechanisms to not exist. I believe the existing criteria needs to be changed and the regulation establishing the OCOT must be adhered to.





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?

If the OCOT is to be self governed, then I feel that the OLRB should have limited say, if anything with the OCOT


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

I feel that those outside of the GTA are not being fairly represented by the OCOT to have this in one location only.


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.

It is important to first clarify if the OCOT a non-arms length body of the government or a NFP representing its membership? Once we answer this clearly it would be easier to answer this question. It is near impossible to get a straight answer on if the OCOT is regulatory government body (as was determined by my complaint to the Privacy Officer and as depicted by government officials) or a arms length independent NFP organization representing the members (as stated by OCOT). As an NFP their objective is to represent the membership interests first and ensuring that membership revenues and administration is in the best interest of those paying membership fees. The more that is dumped on the organization by the government the more costlier it is to administer and the more $ in membership fees go from $20 to $120 a year. If the OCOT is determined to be an arms lengths regulator government body that is selling memberships, is in my opinion send the message that the Ontario Government is now in the business of selling or running membership based organization.





Section E - General Response and Comments

28. Please provide additional comments below, if any.

One must first read the OCOTAA 2009 legislation that established the OCOT and its objectives and powers. From what I read the OCOT is operating outside of the parameters in the OCOTAA 2009 when it comes to enforcement activities. The MOL has a broader parameter to enforce all sectors (members & non member) in ensuring qualifications, safe practices and upholding laws of Ontario. As a government body they have powers that non-governmental organizations do not. If the OCOT is a non profit organization then they should be following the non profit act when it comes to the election of the directors or board members (this is the only professional membership organization in Ontario that does not elect one board member or director because they are all appointed by the Ontario Appointment Council for the OCOT. This in my opinion is not being self governed by the trades because we have no say at all. A majority of the Board of Directors and Board of Governors should be members of the OCOT and thus have a vested interest in decisions made. Are there any other professional membership based organizations in the Province of Ontario that the membership does not elect any directors or board members. The OCOT is making available to the general public more of our personal information that what they are allowed to as per the OCOTAA 2009 and I have written to them asking for my personal information to be removed. The year we got our license from the MTCU should be made public on the OCOT website fr the public to see. My complaint to the Privacy Officer was dismissed as they deemed the OCOT to be a regulatory body and not applicable to PIPEDA however as a NFP organization who sells their membership lists I disagree with this assessment. I feel that the apprentices should not have to pay any fee to the OCOT or should the OCOT have anything to do with them. They should still fall under the MTCU for the registering of all new apprentices, the registering of them for their required schooling, the administering of the exam, the collection of the fees for the exams, the issuing of the apprenticeship cards and all other responsibilities of them. I do not agree that if an apprentice does not pay their apprenticeships are canceled. Please explain to me how this is help with the shortage of trades people by canceling apprenticeship? This alone will not attract anyone to want to become a trades person in my opinion. I would like explained to me is why the OCOT is asking for our employers or our place of work, really what has that got to do with our certificate of qualifications or our qualifications as trades people? In my opinion who we work for or where work has nothing to do with our qualifications and the OCOT should not be asking for this information. What is the real motive behind asking us for this information? I am hopeful that this time our input is considered and we actually will force the necessary changes to ensure that the OCOT is operating the way it was setup to operate. We the stakeholders need more power to have more say and all aspects of the OCOT. Many members are angry and distrust the OCOT, this trust will be difficult to regain. Members should have access to and input into budget prior to it being approved as well as financial statements and reports. We the stakeholders do not want to be burdened with significant increase after increase in our membership fees to cover a shortfall of funds and waste of membership revenues on activities and expenses not in our best interest. The first year of operation and the OCOT ran a $3.5 million deficit, who pays for this - us the members. What are the internal controls in place to ensure it runs effectively with the funds available and financial responsibilities are maintained, we know that isn't a Liberal Government priority. Many of us members are angered at the 657% increase in our license fees and see this as unwarranted and I see no value in the monies I pay to the OCOT. I pay $120 annually just to get a card sent to me and a wall certificate which I just throw in the garbage, what other benefits am I now receiving with this increase. For a matter of fact I actually received 2 cards and 2 wall certificates (1 in May and then another one in November), so please explain how that is operating efficiently? I am yet to understand the necessity for the OCOT and how it can possibly represent the diverse interest groups that it represents, a mix of diverse trades and professions. I am still angry that this was imposed without consultation, I received NOTHING nor did anyone I know. Decision are being made by those with no vested interest, those who aren't members and others who represent special interest and not all the members. It should go back to the MTCU which I feel ran better that the OCOT is running now. We do not need this one more layer of red tape. It is a money grab with little or no benefit to the members! I am yet to understand why the OCOT is issuing any Certificate of Qualification which is a Provincial license to the trades, I believe that should have remained with the MTCU. I feel that they are abusing the power and holding our license hostage. I would also like to know what is in place for the trades and the public to protect them for the Ontario College of Trades? As I see it the author (Tim Armstrong) that wrote the report for the Ontario College of Trades and now is on the appointment council for the Ontario College of Trades is in my opinion a conflict of interest. I believe that Mr Tim Armstrong should remove himself from the appointment council. We have a Quebec trades person, we have a trades person from non-mandatory trades, we have and non-tradespersons- the optics have lead to large amounts the membership having no faith in the OCOT and they fail to see any value for money. We are paying to be harassed by our own membership fees, makes no sense.