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Dean Review Consultation Questions

Written submission to Dean review

Submission number: DR-86

Name of organisation making submission: DR-86 Electricity Distributors Association (EDA)

Responses to questions in submission form


Section A - The Public Interest in this Review

1. What do you understand by public interest?

Respondent did not provide a response to this question


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

Respondent did not provide a response to this question


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

Respondent did not provide a response to this question


4. Is the College currently protecting the public interest?

Respondent did not provide a response to this question


5. How should the College advance the public interest?

Respondent did not provide a response to this question





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.

Respondent did not provide a response to this question


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

Respondent did not provide a response to this question


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.

Respondent did not provide a response to this question


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

Respondent did not provide a response to this question


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

Respondent did not provide a response to this question


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

Respondent did not provide a response to this question


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.

Respondent did not provide a response to this question


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

Respondent did not provide a response to this question


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

Respondent did not provide a response to this question


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?

Respondent did not provide a response to this question





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?

Electricity distribution utilities have developed a comprehensive industry accepted certification regime for its powerline technicians under a system that has been operating for more than 20 years. The sector’s preferred powerline technician program is recognized by the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities as meeting the standards set out by the Ministry before the College of Trades assumed administrative authority in this area. The program’s training certificates are highly regarded, not only in Ontario, but across North America, as demonstrated by our sector’s recent involvement with power restoration efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the United States, which were acknowledged by the New Jersey Governor, and the late 2013 Ice Storm. The concepts of compulsory and voluntary trades designations utilized by the College of Trades do not impact the already high standards of key trades in the LDC sector.


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 EDA notes the role and administrative authority of the Ontario College of Trades to act in the public interest as referenced in the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009. The EDA does not however hold the view that the College’s classifications of certain trades as either compulsory or voluntary necessarily protect the public interest. The training, certification and standards of certain trades, such as Powerline Technicians in the LDC sector, remain well established and respected by government, its agencies and industry alike despite being deemed voluntary by the College. Similarly, the re-classification of such a trade as compulsory by the College would not automatically protect the public interest. The public interest is protected by the active industry involvement, support and expert developed training provided to those individuals in that and other trades. The EDA also notes that a number of existing government organizations such as the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), Electricity Safety Authority (ESA), and Ministry of Labour also part of their mandate to act in the public interest in the LDC sector.


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?

The EDA acknowledges that it is reasonable to assume that in some industries and sectors the scopes of practices of certain trades are inherently hazardous. The EDA would note to the College that the safety practices of the LDC sector are already monitored by an independent regulatory agency, the ESA. This organization has the mandate to enhance public electrical safety in Ontario. As part of its mandate, the ESA administers regulation in four areas: the Ontario Electrical Safety Code; licensing of Electrical Contractors and Master Electricians; electricity distribution system safety; and electrical product safety. The LDC sector also is governed by Ontario Regulation 22/04 which establishes objective based electrical safety requirements for the design, construction, and maintenance of electrical distribution systems owned by LDCs. Annual ESA statistics consistently show that LDC sector workers demonstrate a high level of safety despite the inherent and hazardous risks of building and maintaining Ontario’s electricity distribution system. Further, the LDC sector adheres to Ministry of Labour standards as well as use of the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association’s (IHSA) procedural rulebook for the electricity utility industry.


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 EDA encourages the College of Trades to limit its classification regime to the core elements of trades that best captures the roles and responsibilities taking into consideration health and safety risks. Defining a trade by tasks, activities or functions is vague and assumes there is uniformity in a trade across industries and companies. The EDA would be able to define the core elements in those trades found in the distribution sector. The EDA’s role as the voice of the LDCs and experience working with the LDC sector’s key training provider as well as regulatory and safety agencies makes the EDA well suited to that discussion. The College should then have a duty to consult with industry and experts in order to define what constitutes a trade’s core elements.


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 Ontario Labour Relations Board is a model that the College should continue to rely on for its adjudicative review panel. The LDC sector is regulated by independent quasi-judicial authority in the Ontario Energy Board. Where the College should make changes to its model is in the area of consultation. The duty to consult established industry experts, trainers, and acknowledge existing certification regimes is where the College requires improvement.


21. How should expert opinion be obtained?

The College of Trades should recognize sources of expert opinion on trades are available beyond the limited structure of their current system of trade councils. In the case of Powerline Technicians, the College should have the duty to consult the sector that utilizes the vast majority of these tradespeople through its industry association, the EDA, or through the organization which administers the sector’s training curriculum and facilities. As an example, the MEARIE Group, the lead organization which administers training in the sector works extensively with the LDCs and training providers to ensure training meets the needs of the industry. A formal process has been established that includes: • Committee reviews to establish, monitor and evaluate training program effectiveness. • Committee reviews to update curriculum and training materials on a regular basis. • Review and approval of participants encompassing both classroom and work experience. • Building a roster of qualified instructors, many of whom are LDC employees with relevant field experience The College needs to acknowledge the processes that are already in place to obtain 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.

Ontario regulation 458/11 would be more consistent with the public interest if it would disqualify trades from being considered for re-classification where already established safety and certification standards are present. In the case of Powerline Technicians, there are no considerations of the current state of the trades training and certification regime as they exist in Ontario, only a question as to how they are governed in other jurisdictions. Within Ontario, where the College operates, Powerline Technicians are trained, apprenticed and certified in a well established and respected industry supported and led system.


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

The criteria for trade classification review set out in Ontario Regulation 458/11 are clear but they do not address the state of training, development and industry cooperation that exist in the certification of any given trade. Criteria should be expanded to acknowledge existing standards that may exceed those proposed by the College.


24. Are the existing criteria the right criteria?

The existing criteria for trade classification review set out in Ontario Regulation 458/11 are not the right criteria as they do not address the arbitrary nature which would allow the College to select a trade for re-classification. The process for re-classification set out in the regulation does not address the fundamental question as to why a trade has been selected for review. If the College is concerned about providing more oversight and examination of trades that are potentially hazardous to the individuals and public involved, that criteria should be clearer and should be based on measurable data about safety records and established training regimes. In the case of Powerline Technicians, there exists no evidence that these tradespeople or the sector that employs them would find any discernible benefit to being designated as compulsory. The EDA does not support classification of Powerline Technicians as a compulsory trade. The industry supported training regime with an expert developed curriculum as well as an independent agency’s oversight of their substantial safety record prove the public interest is not additionally served by the College’s focus on this trade.





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?

Respondent did not provide a response to this question


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

Respondent did not provide a response to this question


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.

Respondent did not provide a response to this question





Section E - General Response and Comments

28. Please provide additional comments below, if any.

The EDA is against the classification of Powerline Technicians as a compulsory trade by the College of Trades. The training, certification and standards of certain trades, such as Powerline Technicians in the LDC sector, remain well established and respected despite being deemed voluntary by the College. Similarly, the re-classification of such a trade as compulsory by the College would not further protect the public interest. The public interest is protected by the active industry involvement, support and expert developed training provided to those tradespeople.