Ontario PC election platform claims potential to create 200,000 skilled trades jobs by closing OCOT and reducing apprenticeship ratios

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GTA Construction Report staff writer

The provincial Progressive Conservative party has released part of its platform, suggesting that changes to apprenticeship ratio reviews and eliminating the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) will create 200,000 jobs, as part of what it calls it’s “Million jobs plan.”

“OurMillionJobsPlandoesaway with cumbersomeand outdated apprenticeship rules that limitthenumberofjobopportunitiesin the trades,” the election platform statement said. “We willmakeiteasierforpeopletogetjobsaselectricians,plumbersor precisionmachineoperatorsby makingtradestrainingacommunitycollege courselikeanyother.  We willabolishtheCollegeofTrades,anew bureaucracythatcreatesred tapeandnewtaxesthatactuallystopmany youngpeople fromjoining thetrades.  Byremoving thesebarriers,our plan willconnectworkers with 200,000opportunitiesintheskilledtrades,jobsour youngpeople andour economydesperatelyneed.”

Background observations in the document also assert:

  • InOntariotodaywe faceenormousunemployment, and at thesametimewealsoface enormous labour shortages.
  • Ontario has46percent fewertradespeople perperson thantheother nineprovinces. “Thiscostsjobs.It’snot in workers’ interest.  Andithastochange.”
  • Skilled tradespeople comefrom trainingandapprenticeships.  Andit mightsurprise you to learnthat Ontariohasa policyofdeliberately limitingthenumberof apprentices thatget trained.
  • ByreformingOntario’scumbersomeand outdated apprenticeship rules,the Ontario PCswill create 200,000newapprenticeship jobsoverthenextfouryears.

      “TheConference Board ofCanadafoundthe skillsshortage costsOntario’seconomy

$24billionin economicactivity,” the PC platform said. “TheCanadianFederationofIndependentBusinesswarned, ‘If ratiosarenot reduced immediately, Ontario would lose more ofitsskilledlabourerstoother provinces.’”

The Tories quoted thepresident and CEO oftheOntario ChamberofCommerceas saying that manymembers viewtheOCOT as“unnecessarybureaucracy”and“anotherfinancial burden onbusinessandworkers.”

TheC.D. Howe instituteconcluded, “Ifprovinceswantmoreworkersinthe trades, they should allowfirmsto hiremore apprentices,” The PC statement said.

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