TORONTO—During a recent breakfast event about the review of certain aspects of the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT), Tony Dean provided an update as to how the process is going.
"We have an opportunity here," he told members of the audience, who represented various industry associations. "To adjust the dials, to move the dials in areas that are important to the trades and to people in the province."
Dean made clear his objectives, his terms of reference and how important stakeholder feedback will be to the review process.
"Only when we feel that we've fully identified and explored the nature of the issues in front of us, and they're big and thorny, will we be able to start thinking about how we can address them," he said.
Dean was appointed by the province in October to undertake a year-long review of issues related to the scopes of practice, or type of work performed in a trade, and the process for determining whether certification should be compulsory or voluntary. A consultation guide was posted on his website (www.deanreview.com) in January to answer any review questions and it states he will not be considering the existence of the College, redefining what a trade is, amending the scopes of practice for specific trades, reclassifying specific trades and reopening discussions on journeyperson to apprentice ratios for specific trades.
"I think it's remarkable that the College is on its feet," he said, given the controversy surrounding it and how much was loaded into it when it was created. "There is lots that is virtuous about this College. I'm not at all surprised that it hasn't become as muscular as we would like."
Throughout the month of April Dean will be travelling all over Ontario to Kingston, Ottawa, Hamilton, London, Sarnia, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Toronto to gather more information and feedback from stakeholders.
Over the summer Dean said he will start to think about drafting some sections of the report, and testing how the industry reacts to his findings and possible recommendations.
"We're not in this to surprise anybody in October," he told the Daily Commercial News in a previous interview. "The point is to listen, to learn and to give the minister and the College the best possible advice based on what we hear from stakeholders and based on the terms of reference."
During the breakfast a report was unveiled entitled, Modernizing Ontario's Skilled Trades Apprenticeship and Training System: Building New Opportunities Through Governance and Regulatory Reform, which described several areas where the College could be improved. It was stated at the event that several industry associations intend to use this report to provide data to back up their views.