TORONTO — International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) organizers in Ontario have served notice they are serious about continuing to protest legislation to reform the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) that was approved in December by the Ontario legislature.
An IBEW website lists steps for its members to take to protest the approval of amendments to the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act dealing with enforcement of scopes of trade, appeals of penalties and trade classification reviews, among other policies. The electricians are urged to keep up the pressure on the Ontario government until regulations are approved that finally implement the reforms.
Two different IBEW Twitter sites also posted photos of onsite protests apparently held in early January including one outside the Ottawa office of Ontario Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli Jan. 6.
The amendments were included in Bill 70, which received third reading in the Ontario legislature and then Royal Assent on Dec. 9.
The IBEW and other members of the Progressive Certified Trades Coalition argue the reforms will permit non-compulsory trades workers to perform work that should be limited to compulsory trades, eroding safety. The Ministry of Labour has firmly denied the reforms have that effect.
"We will keep protesting until we see the premier paying attention to our concerns," said John Grimshaw, executive secretary treasurer of the IBEW Construction Council of Ontario, in an email sent Jan. 9. "We have made suggestions for a way forward but as of today have received no indication that our concerns will be addressed. All we get from this government is lip service."
The IBEW website encourages unionized electricians to contact their union local and ask how they can participate, non-unionized workers to contact their MPP, and all electricians to discuss the issues with colleagues, spread the word on social media and attend protests.
Grimshaw said IBEW members would be protesting at Labour Minister Kevin Flynn's Oakville office today (Jan. 13).