As we head into summer, I’d like to update you on some of the key initiatives that we’ve been working on with members and stakeholders. To begin, let me say thank you to those who responded to our first member newsletter. We had hundreds of responses and I was happy to engage with you and to begin the conversation of addressing your questions, concerns and suggestions.
As always, you can send your comments and feedback to: CEO@collegeoftrades.ca.
As the Ontario College of Trades evolves, member and stakeholder engagement is becoming an increasingly key influencer on how we conduct business on behalf of our members, the public and the entire province. The College’s success depends on its ability to listen to its diverse membership made up of a variety of skilled trades that have a direct impact on the lives of Ontarians. Employers, apprentices, workers, unions, government, community colleges, joint training trust funds and the public all have a stake in, and contribute to, the work of the College.
To effectively serve both our membership and the public, we need to be continuously engaging, sharing, listening, and acting on what we hear. Stakeholder engagement is something we plan to do on a regular basis. It has been a focus of our work this spring and will continue as we head into summer. Below is an update on some of our recent and ongoing work.
Stakeholder Advisory Groups
The College is taking steps to establish advisory groups with employers, labour, regulators and college/training delivery agents. These advisory groups will allow us to share updates on key activities and issues, allow the College to receive direct stakeholder advice, and help identify ways for the College and stakeholders to work together. The College’s first employer advisory meeting took place in Toronto on May 15th and was attended by over 45 employer representatives. Attendees represented a cross-section of the industry and included direct employers as well as associations representing employers in construction, motive power, industrial and service sectors. A range of issues was discussed, including:
- Implementation of the new compliance and enforcement policy;
- Clarity around the interpretation of risk of harm;
- Approach to promoting the skilled trades;
- Streamlining the apprentice experience;
- Addressing skills trades shortages; and
- Value of employer recognition programs.
There was a lot of spirited discussion, feedback, and recommendations brought forward. The employer group agreed these meetings should take place periodically throughout the year and that we should work to engage employers who are not in the room. The next meeting is scheduled for September 25th.
The first meeting of the regulator advisory group is scheduled for June 25th and the dates for a labour advisory group meeting, and a college/training delivery agents meeting are close to being finalized.
Last month we began consultations to discuss the College’s process for determining journeyperson to apprentice ratios and the next round of reviews beginning April 2019. Journeyperson to apprentice ratios play an important role in apprenticeship for the construction trades, and in turn, in the broader labour market and economy. Because they place limits on the number of apprentices an employer can have at one time, journeyperson to apprentice ratios can have significant impacts for employers, apprentices, journeypersons, and the labour market. With ratio setting processes scheduled for early next year, it is important to ensure that the process sets ratios that are based on solid data and evidence on the current labour market, future demand for skilled trades workers, quality of the training experience, regional economic profile, health and safety experience of workers, and to ensure we can serve and protect the public interest.
The College has begun planning further stakeholder and public consultations on the ratio review process. Stay tuned, as those consultations will occur later in the year and we will update our membership appropriately over the coming months. Updates on those meeting dates and locations will be made available on our website.
College’s new 5-Year Strategic Plan
These consultations and others will also play a large role in the development of the College’s next five-year strategic plan. It’s been five years since the College was created. In that time, the College has learned and heard from many stakeholders on areas for change and improvement. Now, we’re creating a renewed five-year strategic plan, one that builds on our earlier experiences and ensures the College is focusing on the most important priorities – protecting the public and promoting the skilled trades.
To support development of this strategy, we are planning stakeholder and public consultations to inform the strategic directions and priorities of the College. More information on this process will become available over the summer and will be shared with members in an upcoming Member News, and will be available on our web page. I look forward to consulting with members, potentials members and other stakeholders as we plan the way forward.
As part of my work, I am excited about encouraging young people to view apprenticeship as a pathway to valuable and rewarding careers. Congratulations to all the competitors and winners at this year’s Skills Ontario and Skills Canada Competitions. I hope competitors continue to hone their craft and find success as a highly skilled trades professional.
Working with Skills Ontario also gives us an opportunity to work with them and other stakeholders to address Ontario’s skills gap. We were pleased to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Skills Ontario committing us to promote the trades to youth and parents and other audiences in order to increase the number and diversity in the Ontario skilled trades workforce. Thanks again for your interest in the College.
I look forward to hearing from you and welcome your feedback. You can email me at CEO@collegeoftrades.ca.