Progressive Conservative MPP Jeff Yurek pushing to abolish Ontario College of Trades

By Ben Forrest, St. Thomas Times-Journal

Elgin-Middlesex-London PC MPP Jeff Yurek is joining his party’s push to abolish the controversial Ontario College of Trades.

Yurek is planning a town hall meeting for Monday in St. Thomas to outline his fears about the college, created a year ago to regulate and certify skilled trades in the province.

“The College of Trades is an organization that wasn’t asked for by the tradespeople to be formed in the beginning,” Yurek said.

“And it’s not necessary to continue to provide trades throughout the province. It’s basically a tax machine created by the Liberal government.”

The college charges a $120 annual fee to designated “compulsory” trades including electricians and hairdressers.

“We’ve been building in this province for hundreds of years and our buildings are done well,” Yurek said.

“We have numerous levels of government involved to ensure that people are living up to their job.

“We’ve got the Ministry of Labour, we’ve got WSIB, we’ve got local building inspectors and we have a dedicated skilled trade workforce throughout this province.

“The need for the college is not really necessary.”

Yurek rebuffed the notion that skilled trades need a single oversight body like those for doctors and teachers.

“What we need to do (is) see that the Ministry of Labour in fact does their job,” he said. “I think if they’re able to do what they’re paid to be doing, all problems that people are saying the College of Trades would fix, would fix themselves.”

Yurek said in general, his constituents don’t want the College of Trades.

“They fear it’s another expense that will go along with their business and they think it’ll inhibit their ability to make a living.”

As for Monday’s meeting, it’s meant to gather more input while relaying Yurek’s concerns and those of Garfield Dunlop, the PC Party’s critic for training and apprenticeships who is also slated to appear. He is MPP for Simcoe North.

“We want to hear feedback from the constituency to hear what they’re hearing out there,” Yurek said.

IF YOU GO

College of Trades meeting

WHAT: A town hall gathering to discuss the college, which regulates some skilled trades in the province.

WHEN: Monday, April 21 at 7 p.m.

WHERE: St. Thomas Seniors Centre, 225 Chestnut St., St. Thomas