TORONTO—In a move bound to stir up controversy, the Ontario College of Trades has announced its fee structure that will see apprentices and tradespeople pay $60 annually for mandatory membership.
Set to take effect when the regulatory institute begins “receiving members” in spring 2013, the fees will be paid by all registered apprentices, tradespersons or journeypersons in the province, as well as employers.
According to the college, journeypersons and employers will pay $120 annually.
“In 2013, skilled trades professionals will have the responsibility of governing and regulating their industry, just as nurses, teachers and doctors do now,” board chair Ron Johnson said in a statement.
“This move from a government-run to an industry-driven skilled trades system will benefit consumers and Ontario’s economy.”
In what has become a hot-button issue amongst skilled trades employees and employers alike since it was legislated in 2009, college brass are sure to hear from industry pros in the wake of the fee structure announcement.
Atop the list of opponents speaking out on the college is the Ontario Construction Employers Coalition (OCEC), which has been lobbying for over a year to have the institution dismantled.
In July, OCEC chair Sean Reid called the college and its regulatory fees an “$84-million tax on tradespeople and their employers.”
Reid is the Ontario regional director with the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA).
But Reid’s PCA and OCEC aren’t the only industry associations getting hot under the collar over college-related issues, with Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario president Bill Nicholls firing back at members of the OCEC in defense of the regulatory institution in August.
Nicholls said the 2013 budget for the College of Trades is estimated at $20-million, not the $84 million projected by OCEC members, and contends calling the membership fees a tax is “intentionally misleading,” as the fees are not covered by taxpayers.