IBEW CCO Reacts to OCOT Compliance and Enforcement Announcement

electricians installing conduit at construction siteThe Ontario College of Trades announced last week that its compliance and enforcement team is now ramping up its efforts in the construction sector – to coincide with the start of increased building and renovation activity during the spring and summer month. The announcement comes more than a year after the College approved its new “Compliance and Enforcement Policy”. One wonders what has taken so long.

The College promises that it will take its compliance and enforcement responsibilities seriously. But will it? The College says that it will focus on “high risk of harm activities”. But will the College apply the definition of “risk of harm” set out in its own Policy:

Risk of harm include risk of bodily harm…as well as economic or financial harm to consumers of skilled trades services and members of the public…[and also] includes risk of harm to things valued by the Ontario public such as confidence in the trades…the fair functioning of the marketplace…and the trades system as a whole.

IBEW has insisted and continues to insist that enforcing the full scope of practice of the electrician is the only sensible way to implement a risk-based framework to enforcement. It is the only way to ensure that Certificates of Qualification issued by the College are valued and respected. And it is the only way to maintain public and trade confidence in the College as regulator.

“The IBEW CCO represents approximately 20,000 members who actively pay the yearly OCOT fees,” said IBEW CCO Executive Chairman James Barry. “Obviously all members are following this issue very closely.”

It is not acceptable to pay mere “lip service” to these objectives. The College will be held accountable by IBEW and its members.