‘Ottawa’ Electricians Protest Proposed Changes to Skilled Trades Laws Outside Bob Chiarelli’s Office
A few dozen electricians gathered outside the office of Ontario Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli Friday afternoon to protest the provincial government’s budget implementation bill.
Bill 70 includes changes to the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act that “threaten” the work of skilled electricians, spokesman for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 586 John Bourke said in an interview with the Citizen.
“It would open up the door to people that are not skilled … It would allow contractors to have people come in and do the work that they are not certified to do,” Bourke said.
With several infrastructure projects currently underway and others that have yet to see shovels in the ground, Bourke said the changes endanger the public.
“If the work isn’t done by skilled workers, then the public is at risk.”
Electricians protested with placards that read: “Kathleen Wynne doesn’t care about Ontario public safety” and “Stop Wynne.”
A spokesman for Chiarelli said the minister was busy attending various events in his riding Friday.
Further inquiries were referred to the Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn.
A spokesman for Flynn said the changes further enhance protections that are already in place.
“The Act prohibits any person who does not have a certificate of qualification from doing work that requires a certificate of qualification,” spokesman Michael Speers said in an email to the Citizen.
According to Speers, Bill 70 created a new penalty and review system to encourage compliance with the certification requirements which are not mandatory.
“This means that the College will be able to give a penalty to any person doing work without a required certificate of qualification or to an employer who hires someone without the required certificate.”
Speers said that Bill 70 has received Royal Assent.