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Dean Review Consultation Questions

Written submission to Dean review

Submission number: DR-8

Name of organisation making submission: DR-8 Sarnia Construction Association

Responses to questions in submission form


Section A - The Public Interest in this Review

1. What do you understand by public interest?

As noted in the consultation brief, the concept of public interest is not easily defined, nor, as it may suggest, is the role of the College in the public interest easily understood given the multitude of existing statutes, rules and regulations which govern how businesses (public and private and construction and non-construction) operate in Ontario. Public and private interests are ultimately dependent on economic growth and opportunities that result in or further economic stability. OCoT serves no such purpose. It can and in fact has undermined and damaged the public interest by: • Establishing artificial barriers that will interfere with the free flow of skilled labour between provinces and from the United States during skilled trade shortages. The Ontario government must amend the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act (OCTAA hereinafter also referred to as “the Act”) and/or the Regulations to ensure that the access to skilled manpower is not restricted in any way. The free flow of skilled labour must be a priority to ensure and maintain, in the public interest, economic growth, stability and marketplace competitiveness in Ontario. • Establishing rules and regulations that will inappropriately and unnecessarily interfere in the efficient utilization of the tradespeople in construction activities. In the construction industry, the efficient utilization of tradespeople particularly includes the ability to cross-craft and supplement skilled voluntary trades with others having similar skills when trade shortages arise. The creation of new compulsory trades as permitted by OCoT rules will reduce and prohibit any cross-crafting on the job site. • Engaging in a process that supports the creation of new compulsory trades in construction. This is a self-serving goal that is contrary to the public interest. Compulsory status is a method to create artificial trade shortages (this is evident from the newly created compulsory trade of Sprinkler Fitter). Grandfathering tradespeople is not a solution, as it only solves the problem of a skilled trade shortage (that would be created by granting a trade compulsory status) on a temporary basis. In the case of the Sprinkler Fitter, it is submitted that the Review Panel was not presented with any suitable or compelling evidence to prove or demonstrate that the public safety interest was in jeopardy. • Engaging in enforcement functions that interfere with well-established industry practices and disrupt the efficient, effective and safe progress of work at construction sites. As noted herein, these practices and activities are already governed by different laws, rules and regulations applicable to the construction industry. It is beyond any doubt that such duplicity and potential conflict is not in the public interest. • Creating, through the enforcement of compulsory trade status on construction sites, new and unnecessary significant liabilities and administration costs for major owners, constructors and other consumers of construction services looking to invest in Ontario. OCoT’s role in the public interest is questionable at the very least. If there is a role, that role should be limited to training and not those that are subject to existing legislation such as the Occupational Health & Safety Act. Consumer protection laws, other laws governing labour relations and workplace practices such as the Ontario Labour Relations Act, the Employment Standards Act, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, and the Ontario Building Code, the Electrical Safety Code, as well as engineering standards and practices and technical standards required pursuant to the Technical Standards & Safety Authority Act, already exist to address and protect the various areas of public interest. It is submitted that, in its brief history, OCoT has already damaged the public interest by creating divisions in both the public and private sector communities. The College, through its inspectors and other administrative functions, has acted in a manner that is arguably self-serving as it is governed by a limited and narrow group of stakeholders who are intent on serving their own self-interest and not the public interest, regardless of how the public interest is defined and/or understood. It is submitted that these self-serving stakeholders/members of the College see it as a tool or means to eliminate competing workforces in Ontario. In addition, it is not in the public interest to raise costs for the buyers of construction or consumers of construction services. Ontario cannot afford to become less competitive through the creation of new compulsory trades which will, with all certainty, create trade shortages and increase the cost of doing business in the province. The creation of new compulsory trades will certainly harm the consumer and the homeowner through increased costs for home repairs and renovations. Ultimately, it will entrench and grow a new underground economy to avoid the further regulation of construction trades and Scopes of Practice, which will involve and require more intrusive and costly enforcement practices. These foreseeable consequences are not in the public interest.


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

The public would be best served by the College if its role or mandate was limited to the delivery of training services only. This applies especially in the construction industry. It is submitted that the potential cost of any other role or mandate granted by legislation to OCoT outweighs the potential benefit to the public. In other words, OCoT activities that extend beyond a training mandate will result in a net negative benefit to the public interest. The training function and/or mandate of OCoT were previously more than adequately served by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. It is, therefore, reasonable to conclude that the lobby to create OCoT, by a small and limited number of stakeholders, was motivated by self-interest and for reasons other than the public interest.


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

The College has, through its authority to grant compulsory trade status and through its function of trade enforcement, already engaged in decisions that are not in the public interest and subvert the interest or views of others. It is submitted that the most desirable solution is one that limits the College’s role in decision-making in the public interest. Legislation mandating the College’s role to protect and engage in public interest matters duplicates those interests that are already protected through other statutes, rules and regulations in law. Through a limited number of narrow self-interest groups controlling the College and practices that limit input, the College has made decisions that conflict with the interests of others and could arguably be considered unfair and inequitable. The potential for conflict is a result of its structure, administrative practices and procedures. This is not in the best interest of the public, nor is it in the best interest of all affected stakeholders. Given that narrow self-interests govern the College, it is asserted that the College may not be in a position to resolve different or opposing interests. At the very least, this establishes the need for an especially high onus and standard of proof for those seeking re-classification from a voluntary trade to a trade with compulsory status. It also points to an important need to ensure that well-established work practices and activities are not negatively impacted by OCoT’s role on construction sites.


4. Is the College currently protecting the public interest?

It is arguable whether or not the College’s role and function protects the public interest or the interest of the construction industry or, for that matter, any other sector of the province’s economy. It must be stated that the College has, in fact, the potential to harm the public interest by interfering in marketplace activities. Such unnecessary interference will ultimately lead to the loss of new capital investment in the province and to the loss of jobs. It is our view that the negative cost associated with the College’s role in the economy significantly outweighs the potential for any net public benefit.


5. How should the College advance the public interest?

The role of the College in the public interest, if any, should be strictly limited to training. This interest was adequately served by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, pursuant to the Trades Qualification and Apprenticeship Act (“TQAA”) prior to the Act and the establishment of the College. As noted throughout this submission, the public interest is already protected by numerous statutes, rules and regulations in law. Additional redundant and overlapping statutes, rules, and regulations (created through the enactment of OCoT) are unnecessary, inefficient and may be applied in an inconsistent manner. Such duplicity can only harm public and private interests. Major buyers or consumers of construction services share the concern that OCoT and its role in the “public interest” will increase construction costs by interfering in the efficient and timely performance of construction activities. These include activities that are enhanced through cross-crafting, particularly in periods of high demand.





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.

A Scope of Practice (SoP) has a role in the daily work activities on a construction site as it outlines the nature of the work of a trade and, generally speaking, how work is assigned on a job site. An SoP does not, however, totally describe the work of a trade or its jurisdictional claims. In the voluntary trades in the construction industry, SoPs are typically described in broad terms. This should be maintained as it permits cross-crafting and allows the industry to use others during periods of excess demand for manpower and construction services. In the compulsory trades, the SoPs are somewhat more restrictive. Clearly, the SoPs of the compulsory trades should not be enhanced or expanded as they would seriously jeopardize how manpower is utilized on a job site. The majority of work claimed in practice by the compulsory trades is not work of a compulsory nature. Common work practices occur between all trades in the assignment of work. These common practices extend to work characteristics that cross over between compulsory and voluntary trades. It is submitted that, in the voluntary trades, the Scopes of Practice must be written to encourage the crossover of work and trade practices. A trade could then be used, through “permitting” or by other means, to supplement others having similar skill sets when trade shortages arise in the workplace. This is a common practice in the industry and provides an important level of comfort to the buyer of construction that their project will be built on time, on schedule and at an acceptable cost.


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

Many trades have similar skill sets and perform the core and peripheral work of other trades. This is a common practice in the construction industry when there is an excess demand for a particular trade. It is further submitted that the discussion of core and peripheral elements in a trade should not be used to change a trade’s status from voluntary to compulsory. All trades have skill sets that cross over into the jurisdiction of others. The fact that a trade’s jurisdiction may not cross over with another trade does not provide the evidence or justification for that trade becoming compulsory.


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 Scope of Practice of a trade simply lists in general terms the work practices of that trade. Its purpose should not go beyond that function. It must also be noted that all construction activities have an associated level of risk. This does not justify re-defining a Scope of Practice or justify a re-classification of a trade from voluntary to compulsory. All activities or functions listed in a trade’s curriculum should not be included in its Scope of Practice. The SoP should only act as a guide for the voluntary trades. More importantly, the SoP should not be designed to restrict or create exclusivity in a work practice. This will inevitably lead to trade shortages. There is a very real concern that re-defining the Scopes of Practice in the voluntary trades in a manner that restricts their function to a narrowly defined core may lead to new and additional applications for compulsory trade status. This is especially important as the Review Panel system enacted in OCoT has now set a low bar for achieving compulsory status.


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

Trade practice reviews should be limited and only for purposes of upgrading training standards. If a review is to occur, the onus for the review should be placed on those trades that have requested the review to provide justification as to why a Scope should be re-written. When re-writing a Scope, the onus to collect input from the stakeholders (both private and public) must be the responsibility of OCoT. This is very important as many stakeholders do not have the resources to monitor OCoT’s administrative functions.


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

OCoT’s role in the Scopes of Practice should be limited to those administrative functions associated with training only. The SoPs would provide the general support for this role. In the classification or re-classification of trades from voluntary to compulsory, OCoT’s role should be either entirely eliminated or, at best, at least greatly minimized. These restrictions are necessary because it is becoming abundantly clear that the underlying reasons for a trade to request re-classification from voluntary to compulsory trade status is to eliminate competition or limit a competing workforce from claiming their trade jurisdiction. This is not a compelling or justifiable reason for trade re-classification nor is it a compelling or justifiable reason for enforcement of a compulsory trade’s status. It is our view that there are no persuasive reasons to re-classify any of the existing voluntary trades into compulsory trades. This assertion also applies to the re-classification of the Sprinkler Fitters. In this example, compulsory status was granted without any satisfactory evidence to support the change. These weaknesses in the College’s system strongly suggest and support the position that, ultimately, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities or preferably the Provincial Cabinet must have the sole authority to determine a trade’s status. Furthermore, compulsory status does not enhance workplace and/or personal or public safety. Jobsite safety is a function of personal commitment by all involved on the job. You will note that the Sarnia/Lambton region is considered to have the safest unionized construction workforce in North America. This has been a fact for many years. This record came about through the commitment of all stakeholders (contractors, unions and industrial buyers of construction) to a safe and productive work site and not to the classification (voluntary or compulsory status) of certain trades.


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

The Scopes of Practice for the existing compulsory trade should be enforceable only in part. The reason for this is simply because there is trade jurisdiction overlap not only between different compulsory trades but also between compulsory and voluntary trades and between different voluntary trades. Any enforceable component of an SoP in a compulsory trade has been and should remain limited and narrowly defined. It is important to note that with the creation of the College and the creation of its enforcement function, there is a greater possibility of jurisdictional disputes arising on job sites. Some compulsory trades are now attempting to use their Scope of Practice to support jurisdictional claims. These claims have been frivolous and raise the danger of OCoT’s involvement in labour relations matters. This will not only be disruptive but could also lead to increased costs to the industry. Jurisdictional claims should be resolved by the parties to the dispute and/or by the OLRB if necessary, and not by OCoT. OCoT’s enforcement function has already resulted in complaints from tradespeople within the same union (e.g. Steamfitter v. Plumber). This continues to be a disruptive problem and not a good result for OCoT or for the construction industry. It is expected that with the creation of the new compulsory Sprinkler Fitter trade, new complaints will be generated on site as licensed Plumbers and Steamfitters have previously been engaged in the installation of fire protection systems. For your information, OCoT has now advised that there is no work jurisdiction crossover between the Steamfitter/Plumber and the Sprinkler Fitter. This is simply a wrong decision. By making this decision, OCoT has effectively created a trade shortage for this type of mechanical installation.


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.

The answer to this question is simply no. Any risk to the public or tradespeople or workers on the job that falls within the parameters of the Occupational Health and Safety Act must be under the sole jurisdiction and authority of the Ministry of Labour or the sole authority of any other Ministry enacted in law to protect the public interest. We submit that the public, tradespeople and workers on the job are already protected through a series of enacted statutes, rules and regulations and that OCoT should not be engaged in any role requiring enforcement of compulsory trade activities. OCoT’s role in enforcement is compromised by a conflict of interest that is created through a select group of stakeholders having self-interest, not the public interest as their main motivation. In the past, the Ministry of Labour protected the public interest and it is submitted that the enforcement function for compulsory activities should remain with that Ministry. There are numerous and complicated practices which result from different trade practices and jurisdictional claims that are unique to the construction industry. As compulsory trades utilize OCoT’s services, its role in enforcement is in further danger of becoming an agency to resolve work claims. This would be a disturbing trend as OCoT officers do not have the expertise or skills nor can they be reasonably expected to develop the skills required to assign trade jurisdiction. The nature of the industry is complicated which is why it has developed methods to deal with jurisdictional disputes. OCoT’s enforcement role is simply a new layer of regulation. This role has effectively created a new additional liability for buyers of construction who act as the constructor. As a constructor, the buyer of construction has the responsibility to ensure that compulsory work is assigned properly. If work is not assigned properly, the constructor, the contractor and the tradesperson doing the work could be fined by OCoT. This is not in the best interest of Ontario.


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

The Scope of Practice will outline the work that a tradesperson may undertake when working on a construction site. In the case of voluntary and compulsory trades, there is an overlap in many work practices. There are valid reasons for these work practice crossovers and they should not be eliminated. In the case of a compulsory trade, the SoP will also list exclusions that do not fall within the guidelines or the scope of the compulsory Scope of Practice. This means that the compulsory trade does not have sole jurisdiction over the exclusionary work, i.e., others including the compulsory trade may engage in those activities.


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

Overlap between SoPs do have an impact on the daily work practices of a trade and, at minimum, they should be maintained or preferably broadened in the voluntary trades to permit cross-crafting, especially during times of trade shortages. Any restrictions in a trade’s work practice have the potential to result in skilled trade shortages.


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?

As described in the “Consultation Guide”, the third party legal interpretation principle implies that certain compulsory work may be undertaken by the public at large. If this is the correct interpretation, the evidence suggests that there are few, if any, risks to the public due to an overlap in trade practices. Firstly, it must be noted that it is disingenuous to point to isolated instances and suggest that the system of apprenticeship training and enforcement, prior to OCoT, was failing. Secondly, the public is well protected through numerous overlapping statutes, rules, and regulations in law. These include not only environmental laws, but also occupational health and safety laws, consumer protection statutes (both federal and provincial), technical and engineering standards, etcetera. It is misleading to claim that OCoT’s enforcement role will somehow reduce or eliminate all violations of the statutes’ guiding apprenticeship and trade qualifications in Ontario. In the alternative, it is a certainty that OCoT will harm the economy and employment opportunities by the negative message to investors through its interference in the workplace.





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?

Skill, workmanship and expertise are elements found in trades that are classified as either having compulsory trade status or voluntary trade status. All trades are highly skilled in the construction industry. The fact that a trade is skilled should not be a determining factor in the decision to re-classify a voluntary trade into a compulsory trade. The construction industry continually strives to improve work practices. This improvement is driven by many different factors such as the competitive nature of the industry and technological change. As statutes, rules and regulations in law also exist to protect public and private interest, the need for protection through compulsory trade status does not serve any public policy goal other than creating more bureaucratic redundancy and competitive barriers in the economy.


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?

The College’s duty to serve and protect the public interest is overstated. Self-serving interests driven by a limited number of stakeholders are the underlying reasons that OCoT has its role in the re-classification of a trade from voluntary to compulsory trade status. This is poor public policy as self-interest should not enter into this important decision. In addition, the term “public interest” could and is being used to unfairly justify the role of OCoT in the economy. It is respectfully suggested that an organization driven by a select few with self-serving interests does not make for good public policy.


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?

There are hazards and risks in any activity described in all Scopes of Practice (both voluntary and compulsory) that may pose a risk to the public, tradespeople or others. Scopes of Practice are not intended to reflect risk. They are simply a reflection of the work a tradesperson may undertake on a job. It is also evident that risks and hazards cannot be solely associated with the work of a compulsory trade or that a voluntary trade becomes safer because its risks or hazards are reduced when its trade status changes from voluntary to compulsory. Notwithstanding the risks associated with the work of a trade, it is important to note that public and personal safety and the public interest were protected by a strong system of statutes, rules and regulations in law in place in Ontario prior to OCoT’s enactment.


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?

The solution to the hazards that pose a harm to the public, tradespeople or other workers on the job is not found in the compulsory status of a tradesperson. Risk and hazard and the potential harm to the public are mitigated by laws governing how business operates in the Province of Ontario. For example, the rules governing worker safety are set forth in the Occupational Health and Safety Act administered by the Ministry of Labour, and the environment is protected under the statutes of the Environmental Protection Act which is administered through the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. Compulsory trade status can only lead to trade shortages. Many voluntary trades undertake the core work of others when a trade shortage arises on the job. Compulsory certification tied to a core description will only create new unmanageable problems as others will not be allowed to undertake core work when a trade shortage occurs. Major industrial clients depend on adequate manpower availability to service their construction needs. Manpower demand on industrial sites is significant due to the nature of the work required in those facilities. The petro-chemical/refinery industry is especially dependent on a large and skilled mobile manpower pool. Tradespeople in this pool do not always represent a compulsory trade. Any interference with the ability to access skilled manpower will be fatal to attracting new investment. It is a well-known fact that when trade shortages occur, trades will increase demands for incentives. This negative result happens even when there are manpower shortages in the voluntary trades. In the compulsory trades, travellers from other jurisdictions within and outside of Ontario, including offshore locations, are often imported to satisfy excess demand. In the voluntary trades, excess demand is eliminated through a supply of travellers and/or by “permitting” those from other trades who have similar skill sets. Access to these pools of skilled labour dampens the demand for excessive premiums. If forced to pay incentives, costs would rise exponentially for all buyers of construction. OCoT is now prohibiting tradespeople in a compulsory trade from travelling into Ontario by requiring them to pay a fee. This is nothing more than a requirement for travellers to pay a tax for the privilege of working in Ontario. It is also a cost that will be eventually passed on to the buyer of construction if there is a significant demand for manpower. This is not a good result or good public policy.


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.

The College Review Panel approach to fulfil the role and function of OCoT’s mandate has been a failure. The review of the apprenticeship ratio has, for example, failed to bring any positive results. Changing ratios did little to employ more apprentices in Ontario. Clearly, the employment of apprentices is dependent on work availability (i.e. the ability to gainfully employ apprentices) and not the specified ratio in the Act. Moreover, the Review Panel failed when it awarded compulsory status to the Sprinkler Fitter. This status was granted even though it was acknowledged by the Panel that the Sprinkler trade did not satisfy the requirements for a change in status. This has created a dilemma in the industry as the Panel failed to recognize that many fire protection systems have been previously installed in Ontario by those having a Plumber or Steamfitter licence. In this case, the Review Panel produced a result that ignored industry practices. The Review Panel process is fraught with shortcomings in the discussion surrounding compulsory trade status. Firstly, the claim that a Review Panel has expertise is somewhat misleading as it must be agreed that the industry is simply too complicated and diverse. Secondly, although the Review Panel recognized that the evidence was inadequate in the case of the Sprinkler Fitter, it chose to ignore its own assessment of the facts by awarding compulsory status to that trade. This decision alone strongly suggests that the Review Panel system is seriously flawed. It has irreparably damaged the public’s and stakeholder’s confidence in OCoT’s ability to make judgments in the public interest. It is respectfully submitted that if the College is to be assigned any role in the public interest, its mandate should be restricted to that of a training role in the construction trades.


21. How should expert opinion be obtained?

If the College requires expert opinion, that opinion should be solicited from all affected stakeholders and not only those found in the GTA or those seeking a change in status. The onus must be placed on the College to gather the necessary facts and information as the impact the College has on the economy is significant. Too often the College excuses itself from poor decisions by placing the onus on the stakeholder to monitor OCoT activities. This is not a good business practice especially as the College is already viewed as being too selective and self-serving and not acting in the public interest.


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

The current criteria are not consistent with the public interest. The criteria established for trade classification reviews invites a viewpoint rather than information based on some objective standard. Further, there is no requirement for an economic study or an analysis of the cost and/or benefits to support a re-classification of a trade. This is a major shortcoming of the process given the impact that a re-classification could have on the industry and on the economy. Clearly, the process and structure for review is fundamentally flawed and not in the public interest. It is respectfully submitted that the Review Panel process has, in fact, damaged public confidence by issuing decisions based on opinion and the limited information submitted by a select few with self-serving interests.


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

The data and evidence needed to meet the criteria for determining compulsory status is not clear or measurable. Moreover, the nature and diversity of the construction industry makes it difficult to gather useful data. In any event, any information gathered would be subject to an interpretation that could result in a poor decision. For example, in the Sprinkler Fitter re-classification, clear and measurable data did not enter into the decision-making process that changed the status of that trade; rather it was a point of view that became the deciding factor. This point of view was formed from opinions and testimonials of those who were not familiar with construction industry practices and requirements.


24. Are the existing criteria the right criteria?

In view of the Sprinkler Fitter decision, it has become evident that the criteria used to re-classify a trade is not the correct criteria nor is the system for decision-making the correct system. To fully understand why, one must only consider that when OCoT was enacted there was insufficient critical dialogue and consultation with all industry stakeholders. The lack of consultation was an unfortunate mistake as OCoT’s enactment has resulted in deep public divisions. This is an important consideration because, as OCoT’s role in the economy becomes more prevalent and intrusive, divisions in the public and the industry will grow.





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?

Generally speaking, the SoPs reflect a trade’s jurisdiction. It is important, however, to note that a Scope of Practice does not describe a trade’s jurisdiction in totality.


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

The above-noted proposition does not reflect how jurisdictional disputes arise. Jurisdictional disputes arise when there is an overlap in claims in core work and in peripheral work. In the construction industry, overlaps in jurisdiction are common which explains the large number of trade disputes. The industry already has systems in place to resolve these disputes. OCoT has now become a third party to these disputes when it is obvious that it should not have any role in the determination of jurisdictional claims.


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.

OCoT should not have any role in resolving jurisdictional disputes nor should it be engaged in the enforcement of jurisdictional practices in the industry. A role for OCoT in the assignment of trade jurisdiction would not serve any useful purpose. The public interest would be better served if OCoT was divorced from jurisdictional matters and the enforcement of trade work practices. The Ontario Labour Relations Board is the accepted industry tribunal for resolving work claims or disputes that cannot be resolved on the job site. All Board decisions are subject to review through appeal and are a result of a complicated legal process. These decisions should not be subject to OCoT review or interpretation. As trades apply for compulsory status, OCoT’s potential role in jurisdictional claims will increase substantively. This would be extremely detrimental to the industry. Jurisdiction assignments differ between different trades in different areas and regions, and between different contractors, and even between different sites in the same region with the same contractor. Jurisdiction assignments at the job site are often a matter of best opinion. Enforcement officers cannot be fully equipped to determine jurisdiction nor will they ever be fully and properly trained to resolve such disputes when they arise.





Section E - General Response and Comments

28. Please provide additional comments below, if any.

Background Information The Sarnia Construction Association is a local mixed trade association with 50 contractor members (and 20 suppliers) who employ approximately 5,000 unionized tradespeople and work predominately in the petro-chemical/refinery industries in Sarnia’s “Chemical Valley”. These major buyers of construction make Sarnia the largest industrial centre in Ontario. The construction hours generated in these production complexes represent about 10% of all unionized ICI hours in Ontario and about 33% of all industrial construction unionized hours worked in the province. We estimate that in the last 10 years these major users of construction services have paid approximately $5B in payroll to contractors employing unionized tradespeople working in the Sarnia/Lambton region. The Sarnia/Lambton buyers of construction require a large and highly skilled workforce to service their construction and maintenance needs. The nature of the petro-chemical/refinery business means that additional manpower is often required to satisfy major increases in demand for construction services. For example, the attached document shows plant manpower requirements for a 3 month period in 2005. These statistics are self-explanatory. During that period, approximately 3,000 additional travellers and permits were employed in major industry in the Sarnia/Lambton region. Local tradesperson residency in 2005 was approximately 4,500 in total. At that time, 3 trades (Carpenters, Boilermakers, and Pipefitters) had a total employment of 3,403. This total included local union member residents. The number of Steamfitter/Pipefitter/Plumber travellers working in the area at that time totalled 1,085. Of this total, 385 were U.S. residents that UA Local 663 recruited from sister locals in 36 states. You will note that the total number of travellers and permits from the 3 trades previously mentioned was 1,975 above local residency. The Steamfitters/Pipefitters/Plumbers are a compulsory trade, while the Carpenters and Boilermakers are voluntary trades. In addition to the above-noted trades, there were approximately another 1,000 additional travellers and permits from other voluntary trades (Millwrights, Insulators, Structural Ironworkers, etc.) that were employed and engaged at Sarnia/Lambton sites. Many of these travellers and permits came from regions outside of Ontario. While the peak employment showed 3,000 travellers and permits for a short peak period, the Sarnia/Lambton region employed approximately 1,000 travellers and permits for a period of 3 years during that time period. The above example is not unusual. It is typical of what happens in the Sarnia/Lambton region and in the petro-chemical/refinery industry. The construction industry in this area is dependent on travellers and permits in order to provide needed services. Should OCoT interfere with the mobility of the trades, this would seriously hamper the ability to supply manpower to major construction projects and would significantly raise the cost of construction to the buyers of construction services. Should more trades achieve compulsory status, this would be detrimental to the industry and to new investment. Most permit workers in the voluntary trades that experience shortages come from other unions having similar skill sets. If more trades achieve compulsory status, the system of permitting could no longer be utilized in resolving trade shortages. Compulsory status could not only potentially raise the cost of construction by creating artificial trade shortages but also through the payment of unnecessary incentives to attract manpower. In conclusion, it is the position of the Sarnia Construction Association that OCoT should not be engaged in the process of re-classifying a trade’s status or engaged in the enforcement of that status on job sites. The enforcement process has the potential to be abused as trades will attempt to claim jurisdiction on the basis of their trade status and classification. This is not in the public interest. It is our submission that the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities or preferably the Provincial Cabinet should have the final authority in the decision to grant compulsory status to a voluntary trade.