OCOT enforcement to focus on residential sector: Bob Onyschuk

ocot website
The Ontario College of Trades website reports on the apprenticeship ratio reviews

Bob Onyschuk, the director of the compliance and enforcement division at the Ontario College of Trades updated the Council of Ontario Construction Associations (COCA)’s board of directors on the activities of his division, COCA reported in its September newsletter.

Onyschuk reported that few compliance problems have been discovered in the ICI sector, so the OCOT inspectors are now focusing their efforts in the residential environment, and will only make site visits on ICI problems if they hear of serious violations.

He also reported that Quebec workers cannot be ticketed by the OCOT, and revenue from fines does not go to the OCOT, but local municipalities.

In his presentation he made the following comments, the newsletter reported:

  • The purpose of the college is to protect the public, promote the trades and set training certification standards;
  • The college currently has 20 enforcement officers and 23 more are in the process of being hired;
  • 37 of the total of 43 enforcement officers have backgrounds in the trades;
  • The OCOT is the only self-regulating college in Ontario that has the power to ticket;
  • Enforcement officers are trained to stay invisible, cause as little disruption as possible, be respectful at all times, that time is money both for contractors and inspectors; they are taught to use considerable discretion when fining people;
  • OCOT enforcement officers have roughly the same powers as a ministry of labour inspector;
  • Tickets and fines, like speeding tickets, can be appealed through the court system;
  • Revenue from tickets and fines goes to the municipality in which the charge was laid, NOT to the OCOT;
  • The focus of enforcement efforts is on the compulsory trades and initially there was a concentration on the ICI side of construction where few problems were found; latterly enforcement in construction has focused on non-ICI; enforcement officers will investigate serious complaints about the ICI sector but in the absence of a serious complaint, will stay away from ICI;
  • So far enforcement officers have made 1,300 visits; considerable time is being spent in residential construction, hair styling and auto body; only 18 tickets have been issued to date;
  • OCOT enforcement officers do not have the power to ticket a worker from Quebec who is working in Ontario;
  • All enforcement officers participate in weekly teleconferences to discuss complaints and share their experiences in the field;
  • Complaints of contractor fraud are investigated and a report is submitted to the complaints committee; if the complaints committee determines the complaint is valid, it is referred to the discipline committee or the fitness to practice committee;
  • COCA directors were fully engaged in a question and answer period that followed Bob’s presentation and the following recommendations were made:
  • Develop a code of conduct for enforcement officers;
  • Create a tip sheet informing contractors of their rights and obligations when their worksites are visited by an OCOT enforcement officer.


  1. OCOT enforcement officers should troll the Home Depots, etc and speak to all the handymen and renovators that are buying plumbing and electrical supplies along with their normal supplies.
    Every time I’m in one there is always one of these law breakers buying materials used in my trade. We have to pay OCOT for the privilege of working in a red seal trade and these guys don’t. I’M FRUSTRATED BEYOND WORDS.

  2. Isn’t this just wonderful! We have a whole new sector of bureaucracy. We have had 20 inspectors looking for problems and compliance issues that apparently do not exist( by OCOT’s own words). Solution? Double the number of inspectors! I am absolutely disgusted with this gross mishandling of my tax dollars. This is negligence beyond belief. “If there is no crisis, let’s create one and then jump in and solve it!” , seems to be the government motto. I am fed up and had enough! The OCOT has refused to seriously look at the re-aligning the apprentice ratio in our trade to the rest of Canada. This is one thing they could resolve and then brag about! But I am afraid politics is much more important than integrity! Know this when your inspectors are in our area, you are NOT welcome. You may bother my staff before and after work, during break or at lunch. not while they are trying to keep Ontario working! We have the best country in the world, and our collective governments are determined to destroy it!
    Klaus has an excellent point! People can buy and install products that if installed incorrectly could create a life and property hazard!! But that according to our government is ok! Lets go hammer on the people that committed time and money to being the best they can be!
    Things have to change!

  3. I have been a licensed carpenter for 20 yrs. I learned from my father who was also a red seal licensed carpenter with over 50yrs in this bussiness. We have constently kept our training in order and kept up with the lates rules and regulations that change constsently.
    Now some 3 day trained person who may or may never have been on a construction site, is going to tell me to pay a fee for the pc of paper i spent 4yrs and thousands of hour to get.
    oh did i forget as of Jan 2014 that my trade which is one of the main reasons your house was built is still not considered a mandatory trade but the lady doing your hair is.
    now that is Goverment thinking in the real world.
    If a person is going to enforce this 0n me they better be ready for a 1 hr exam on carpentry skills.
    sincerly P;O

  4. It is to protect the consumer from who, themselves? It pisses me off to see the auto parts stores selling brake parts to people over the counter like brakes , it’s illegal to install brakes on a vehicle without a licence . the supply houses are where the problem lies not the trades people .ocot will never see a penny from me 30 plus years in a trade I will work in my driveway like every other backyard guy.


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