TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 28, 2012) - "Calling for the abolition of North America's first-ever College of Trades is extremely short-sighted and negligent," warned Bill Nicholls, President of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, responding to a news release put out by the Grand Valley Construction Association (GVCA). "Borrowing from Tim Hudak's White Paper on 'flexible labour markets,' the GVCA's position on the College is purely self-serving, showing disrespect for trades workers in the province," said Nicholls.
Nicholls added that "the GVCA and other employer groups who publicly oppose the College, also have their members in the College's governance structure which will, at the end of the day, make final decisions about membership fees."
"After years of open stakeholder consultations, expert reports, public appointments, and institution-building, it is a shame that some employers still continue to obstruct much-needed reforms to Ontario's trades system; reforms that will be embodied by workers and employers finally working together to govern their own affairs and shape their future through the College of Trades," added Nicholls. "I would like to congratulate the Liberal government and the New Democrats for supporting the College's bold initiative to empower trades workers by putting them on an equal footing with doctors, lawyers and other professionals."
"This is the second time in recent memory that certain employers and their Conservative friends have tried to destroy Ontario's trades system; a system that we started building in 1928, to ensure that properly trained workers would be safe on the job and would also provide consumer protection," observed Nicholls.
"Calling a membership fee a 'tax grab' is intentionally misleading; membership fees will apply to members of the College, not taxpayers," clarified Nicholls. "Moreover, the 2013 budget for the College is estimated at $20 million; spreading falsehoods like the grossly-inflated $84 million fee figure before an election undermines the GVCA's credibility on this subject, and shows just how desperate the Conservatives and their sympathizers really are," he said.
Once fully operational, the College of Trades will have a disciplinary function for its journeypersons, apprentices, and employers which will allow consumers to hold unscrupulous contractors to account for shoddy craftsmanship. "It's not surprising that the GVCA and politicians who want a low-wage, low-standard economy are opposing the College of Trades and indirectly are asking tradespeople to support the 'regressive Conservatives,'" added Nicholls.
"The people of Kitchener-Waterloo and Vaughan, as well as all Ontarians should know that the College of Trades is a unique and progressive example of public policy that will serve the interests of workers, businesses and consumers to uphold our standard of living," concluded Nicholls.
The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario represents 150,000 trades workers across the province.