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Smith says bill cuts red tape for trades workers

Erik McIntosh, Eric DenOuden and MPP Todd Smith at Tuesday’s announcement that will see the lowering of apprenticeship ratios and repealing the Ontario College of Trades.

The provincial government is repealing the Ontario College of Trades in a bid to pave the way to “Making Ontario Open for Business” by lowering apprenticeship ratios.

Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith today shared details in Belleville on how the government is acting to reduce regulatory burdens on businesses and workers.

Smith said the Making Ontario Open for Business Act will, if passed by Ontario’s Legislature, cut regulations and open up skilled trades jobs by reducing journeyperson-to-apprentices ratios by winding down bureaucracy at the College of Trades. Contractors and builders in smaller communities have stated projects or operators are often too small to meet required ratios, therefore are denied an apprenticeship position.

The new ratios will be one apprentice allowed for every journeyman as opposed to the 3:1 ratio currently in place.

Smith said “the legislation is great for job creators, and great for any person looking to find work in Ontario” noting “anybody who is prepared to work hard deserves a shot at a better job”.

Ruth Estwick, executive director of the Quinte Home Builders’ Association is pleased.

“Moving to a 1-to-1 ratio is a game changer for construction. The new ratio will provide more apprentice opportunities for young people across Belleville and Quinte,” she said. “For too long, small and medium sized businesses were held back from hiring new apprentices because of regulations. Now our industry will finally have a system in place to close the skills gap.”

“QHBA’s builder and renovator members are ready and excited to hire and train the next generation of skilled tradespeople.”

The Act, if passed, is expected to open up jobs for Ontarians interested in the skilled trades by reducing journeyperson-to-apprenticeship ratios at one-to-one and winding down complex, job killing bureaucracy at the Ontario College of Trades.

The Act will replace the minimum wage increase with one that remains at $14 per hour until 2020, at which point it will rise with inflation. It will also replace the current Personal Emergency Leave rules and instead ensure workers will be able to take up to three days for personal illness, two for bereavement and three for family responsibilities while maintaining leave provisions for victims of domestic or sexual violence.

“At the heart of our plan is the conviction that Ontario can once again be a great place to invest, grow and create jobs,” said Smith “We’re cutting red tape, creating new jobs and telling the world, loud and clear that Ontario is open for business.”

The Act is currently in second reading at Queen’s Park.

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