Todd Smith, the provincial Economic Development minister, killed the Ontario College of Trades.
Students who are in the trades at Humber College and other Ontario colleges do not know how much this will affect them. The province claims the elimination of the college will reduce “unnecessary and burdensome complexity” in skilled trades employment.
The college — introduced in 2009 to manage skilled trades apprentices, enforce licencing and protect the public from poor work — will cease to exist next year.
The province intends to replace it with a program that will establish a 1-to1 ratio between journeymen and apprentices in construction. It’s part of the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, which also freezes the minimum wage at $14 until 2020.
However, with little information about this decision, students are not thrilled with it.
William Tang, a second-year Child and Youth Care student, said this will take away the opportunity to get experience in the field for students learning at Humber.
“This isn’t good for students in the trades because they’re not getting the experiences in the trade which would’ve helped them in their potential careers,” Tang said.
“Now it looks like they have to rely on textbooks and lectures, which I don’t think is enough for the trades students.”
Veera Gudla, a second year Computer Engineering student, didn’t mind the decision Smith announced, but he is concerned for his fellow peers at Humber for their future in the trades.
“Smith did what he thought was best for Ontario and I respect his decision, but I worry about students in trades field like architecture and industrial design because I don’t know if this affects them from graduating and getting a job,” Gudla said.
Craig Trineer, an Electrical Techniques professor, said there were problems with the way things were handled.
“They tried to be high profile and tried to have a lot of influence and that distracted from the things they were supposed to be doing,” Trineer said.
Trineer also questions some of the decision that were made.
“I wasn’t happy when they tripled our dues and bought some expensive real estate which was the most expensive real estate in Toronto when they could’ve done it a lot cheaper,” Trineer said.
Gudla wonders if this will affect students coming to Humber.
“I wonder how many new students would come to Humber after this college trades situation because if not enough new students register then it will affect it in a big way, but if there’s enough enrolment of new students then the college should be fine,” Gudla said.
But Trineer does not see this affecting Humber.
“We help create more electricians than any colleges in Ontario so unless I’m missing something that I don’t know about, I really don’t see this affecting Humber,” Trineer said.
He believes there’s one good benefit despite the Ontario College of Trades scrapped.
“Everyone who teaches in the trades will now have a cheaper fee to pay for their trades licence, which I see is a good thing,” Trineer said.