The Ontario College of Trades (College) through the new Chair’s Award of Excellence honours individuals or organizations that have made an outstanding contribution to the skilled trades and apprenticeship in Ontario.

The College is pleased to announce the nine inaugural winners of our annual Chair’s Award of Excellence. All winners were recognized and honoured having made a difference in apprenticeships and skilled trades throughout Ontario.

2017 Winners


  • Algonquin College’s Apprenticeship Program


    For their continued support and the inclusion of underrepresented groups, encouraging the participation of people with disabilities in the trades and for hosting a number of annual student events to promote the trades including, Women in Trades.

    Algonquin has been a leader in training apprentices for over 40 years. They have consistently grown with a 92 per cent utilization rate (based on available seats in the program) in 2016/17. Algonquin offers diversified training modes for pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs and provides additional academic support when needed, through its Apprenticeship Success Centre.

  • James Bodanis, Program Coordinator, Ontario Youth Apprentice Cook and Baker Program – Humber College


    For his involvement in promoting and supporting the culinary trades, managing and supporting apprentice cooks and institutional cooks, and supporting students and apprentices in advancing their careers.

    James grew the Apprentice Cook program to over 240 students annually (largest in Ontario), redesigned Humber’s program curriculum to align with current industry standards and was one of the Team Managers for Humber’s 2016 gold-medal winning team at the Culinary Olympics in Germany.

  • College of Carpenters and Allied Trades (CCAT)


    Established in 1986, they are the largest training delivery agent for General Carpentry and Floor covering apprenticeships in Ontario. Over the past 16 years, they have provided in-class training for over 6,500 apprentices, 2,080 pre-apprentices.

    The CCAT promotes and supports the trades by hosting open houses, workshops, presentations and hands-on teaching opportunities to students. They also have special outreach events targeting under-represented groups, assigns mentors for female apprentices, and offer paid pre-apprenticeship programs for youth-at-risk.

  • Katrina McFadden, Vice President, Corporate Administration and Human Resources – ArcelorMittal Dofasco (AMD)


    For her dedication and guidance assisting apprentices with placements. Katrina and her employer AMD, are an employer sponsor in 14 trades, maintain 100 active apprentices, hires approximately 30 new apprentices annually and has completed more than 2000 apprentices.

    Apprentices at AMD work with a variety of departments to ensure they receive full and in-depth training in all competencies and safety protocols. AMD employees also participate in open houses, career fairs and visit schools to promote careers in the trades and apprenticeship.

  • John Norris, Executive Director – Collision Industry Information Assistance


    For his commitment to organizing auto body and collision damage repairer (ABCDR) Certificate of Qualification (C of Q) preparation courses and workshops offering free of charge pre-apprenticeship orientations at multiple Ontario locations.

    Under John’s leadership, the CIIA initiated an industry-run project called Apprentice Disconnect to help increase apprenticeship enrolment, mandatory classroom attendance, completion rates and passing the C of Q exam on the first attempt.

    The number of registered apprentices increased to 700 (February 2017) from 625 in 2015.

  • Gail Smyth, Executive Director – Skills Ontario


    For developing and delivering programs which elevate apprenticeships and skilled trades careers, including the annual Skills Ontario competition (the largest of its kind in Ontario), Skills Works summer camps and in-school presentations.

    Gail is also recognized for her development of initiatives geared towards encouraging First Nations, Métis, Inuit and young women to consider a career in the skilled trades. Many students who participate in these programs/initiatives pursue careers in the skilled trades.

    Gail recently announced her retirement. We wish her well.

  • Stephen Speers, Chair, Trades and Apprenticeship, Motive Power Trades – Conestoga College


    For increasing dual credit opportunities for Waterloo high school students entering post-secondary skilled trades programs and encouraging women to enter the skilled trades by hosting various workshops including Jill of all Trades.

    Stephen’s collaboration on a proposal to the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) will create a pathway for Journeypersons to obtain an Ontario Teacher’s Certificate and help resolve the projected high school trade teacher shortage. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum.

    Who will you nominate for the 2018 Chair’s Award of Excellence? More details to follow in the winter edition of Trades Today.

  • Roy King, Co-ordinator, Motorcycle and Powersports Program – Centennial College

    For developing and supporting Centennial College’s pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship program, assisting with the Red Seal exam bank and supporting apprentices as they prepare for their Certificate of Qualification exams.

    Roy is responsible for sourcing the diverse vehicle collection that student technicians currently learn on.

  • Vince Kacaba, Director of Training – United Association Local 46, Plumbers, Steamfitters and Welders

    For his mentorship and support of apprentices throughout their training, increasing apprenticeship completion rates, and for providing consistent training to a very high standard. Vince increased Local 46’s plumbing, steamfitting and welding apprentices from 350 to over 1500. Over 90 per cent of pre-apprentices complete the in-class portion of the program and 100 per cent continue with the Local 46 as registered apprentices.

    In addition to the mandatory in-classroom training, all apprentices complete an additional 250 hours of in-class training at no-additional cost.

 
Nominations for 2017 were open from February 27 until March 31 and criteria for the award includes:

  • Demonstrates outstanding support for apprenticeship in Ontario, including promotion, diversity, consistent training, and completion;
  • Delivers innovative training and support for apprentices or demonstrate long-standing success in completion rates and outcomes;
  • Demonstrates outstanding leadership as ambassadors to increase the sustainability and promotion of Ontario’s skilled trades.