Keeping People Safe by the Ontario College of Trades
Every morning across Ontario, in big cities, small towns and everywhere in between, enforcement officers with the Ontario College of Trades are on the road with your safety in mind.
The College is a member-driven regulatory body that is mandated to protect consumers and promote skilled trades in Ontario, and as part of the its effort to protect the public interest, its enforcement team is responsible for investigating worksites to ensure those doing the work of a compulsory trade have the certification and training to do so.
In the majority of cases, work in Ontario is being done safely by certified trades professionals.
But there are some glaring exceptions and they could compromise the safety of workers and the public.
For example, the College recently fined a body shop that was using an unqualified worker to do the work of a qualified technician. If the work is not done properly, unsafe vehicles may be sent out on the road creating risks for everyone.
“For the first time in Ontario, enforcement officers are visiting worksites to ensure individuals doing work in compulsory trades are certified. This is an important service to help protect consumers as well as create a level playing field for businesses,” says Ron Johnson, chair of the Ontario College of Trades.
There are 22 compulsory trades that require a certificate of qualification in order to work in that trade in Ontario. The public can confirm an individual’s certification through the public register on the College’s web site.
“For example, if you are hiring an electrician to do work in your home, make sure you ask to see their College of Trades membership card to confirm their qualifications. That is your right as a consumer,” he said.
To confirm a certification, type in the individual’s first and last name or membership number. If the person is a member of the College and a certified journeyperson or apprentice, the name will pop up, as well as details on their qualifications.
“One of the College’s core mandates is to protect the public interest, and the public register does just that. If you’re going to hire someone to re- wire your home or do some plumbing work, all you have to do is check the registry to make sure that person is certified for the job. It’s that easy,” added Johnson.
The College ensures that work is undertaken by qualified professionals; something that is essential to its quality and the safety of both workers and members of the public, alike.
“[The register]is fast, it’s efficient and most important, it’s transparent.”
It’s an effective tool for the public, but it’s also an important resource for tradespeople because employers can quickly search the database for information on a potential employee. It’s a win-win for everyone.