Ontario College of Trades launches first members’ Code of Ethics

Today, the Ontario College of Trades (College) released its Code of Ethics (Code), raising the standards and profile of the skilled trades in the province by further defining the professional obligations which are already applicable to all members and contained in the Professional Misconduct Regulation.

The Code provides members with greater clarity about how to engage in the practice of their trades in the most professional way possible. It is an essential part of the College’s ability to self-regulate and is compulsory for members.

“We recognize the vast majority of our members already display very high levels of professionalism and pride in their certification,” said Don Gosen, chair of the Board of Governors, Ontario College of Trades. “This code provides a business advantage for members. Ontarians want to hire and work with tradespeople who have the right training and are held to the highest standards.”

The Code signals to the public that members are accountable and that there is a process in place to handle any complaints. Like the Professional Misconduct Regulation, the Code is enforceable by the College which means that if a member contravenes the Code, it may constitute professional misconduct and could impact their ability to practise their trade. The Code is another way to fulfill the College’s legislated duty to serve and protect the public interest as the provincial regulator of the skilled trades.

Codes of ethics are a standard feature for over 40 other professional regulatory bodies in Ontario. The development of the Code was led by the Board of Governors’ Governance and Nominations Committee, with support from the College’s four divisional boards; construction, motive power, industrial and service. The Board amended the College’s general bylaw on August 22, 2017 to include the Code.

Code of Ethics at a glance:

Using the best practices from other regulatory bodies and the College’s own experiences, the Code of Ethics covers the following for all members:

  1. Duty to perform work in a trade and meet their responsibilities to clients, the public, and other members and tradespeople, honourably, ethically and with integrity.

  2. Professional obligations with respect to the practice of a trade, and their responsibilities to clients, including:

    • Duties of courtesy, competence, honesty, and respect for example, a duty to only perform work in a trade for which the member is competent, and a duty to not engage in abusive behaviour toward a client.
    • Duties related to advertising and communications for example, a duty to permanently display their certificate of qualification or statement of membership in a noticeable place at their place of business.
    • Duties related to business and billing practices for example, a duty to provide a client with a written contract where required by law or requested by the client.

  1. Duties in their relationships to apprentices, employees, tradespeople, and members of other professions or occupations, including:
    • Duties of courtesy, good faith, and respect for example, a duty to be courteous and civil with all persons that the member encounters in their work, and a duty to abstain from discrimination and harassment.
    • Duties related to training for example, a duty on the part of sponsors to ensure that all the terms and conditions in a registered training agreement are followed.
    • Duty to act lawfully for example, a duty to comply with all legislation relevant to the employment and supervision of others.

  1. Duties in their relationship with the College, including:
    • Duty of honesty with respect to any College application, assessment, evaluation or examination process.
    • Duty to respond to College communications completely and in writing.
    • Duty to cooperate with the College.
    • Duty to prevent the unauthorized practice of a compulsory trade.

Guide to the Code of Ethics for Members (pdf)
Code of Ethics FAQs (pdf)
Code of Ethics (pdf)