On May 5, 2021, the Government of Ontario introduced the Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act to simplify the apprenticeship system, reduce stigma related to careers in the skilled trades, encourage business participation, and attract younger people to the trades.
Under the proposed legislation, the Ontario College of Trades (OCoT) would be replaced with a new Crown agency, Skilled Trades Ontario (SKO). The creation of the SKO is touted as a way to streamline and simplify the apprenticeship system by removing the shared responsibility that currently exists between the OCoT and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
SKO would be the province’s industry training authority, leading the promotion, research and development of apprenticeship training and curriculum standards. It would provide apprentices and sponsors with a one-stop online portal for client-facing services, including registration, issuing certificates, and equivalency assessments.
The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development will continue to play a role in the provinces apprenticeship system by providing system oversight and responsibility for regulatory decisions and financial supports. The Ministry will also be responsible for compliance and enforcement of the skilled trades.
The Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development’s Skilled Trades Panel, created to guide apprenticeship reform, is currently consulting on classification and training in the trades. If you wish to take part in the online consultation, visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/skilled-trades-panel-consultations.