Labour Minister Tours IBEW Ontario Training Centres

Ontario’s Labour Minister Monte McNaughton is showing a commitment to learning more about the importance of high standards and training for skilled trades by continuing on an Ontario-wide tour to visit IBEW training centres to see first-hand why skills matter when it comes to ensuring safe electrical work.

On October 2, 2019, Minister McNaughton toured the IBEW Local 105 training centre in Hamilton, accompanied by MPPs Donna Skelly (Flamborough—Glanbrook), Will Bouma (Brantford—Brant) and Jane McKenna (Burlington), Parliamentary Assistant to Minister McNaughton.

“It’s very clear to me that the minister is taking steps to educate himself on the issues that matter to the electrical industry, like the 309A electrical license,” said IBEW CCO Executive Chairman James Barry. “He’s shown himself to be very open to conversations with us and with other stakeholders.”

“We’d like to thank Minister McNaughton and the MPPs for taking the time to visit our training centres, and to learn how essential training and safety are to our trade,” added Barry.

Labour Minister McNaughton Tours IBEW Training Centre
Left to right: Local 105 members Brad Laking and Rochelle Lacombe, Minister McNaughton, MPP Jane McKenna, Local 105 trainer Chris Swick, MPP Will Bouma, and Local 105 Business Manager Lorne Newick.

Engaging with Members and Educators

As the Minister and the MPPs toured the training centre, they met and spoke with Local 105 journeyperson electricians. They also talked with Training Director Chris Swick (also a licensed electrician) who leads the Local 105 training program.

“We gave him a first-hand look at how the equipment we use to carry out our trade is taught to apprentices,” said IBEW Local 105 Business Manager Lorne Newick. “We also talked about our continuing education programs for journeypersons, for example, for communications networks and fire alarm systems.”

The training centre also has an assessment program for new Canadians who are licensed electricians in their country of origin. The program helps educators determine the electrician’s knowledge and abilities as they pertain to Ontario’s electrical code, to help get more electricians ready to work in the province faster.

The Hamilton visit was one of a series – last month, the minister toured the Local 586 Ottawa training centre. There will be more training centre visits planned for across the province in the coming weeks, with stops scheduled for Waterloo and Niagara. Other training centre visits, including Local 353 in Toronto, are in the planning stages.

A Matter of Safety

Back in August, James Barry had presented Minister McNaughton with a copy of the “Skills and Safety Matter” report. The report outlines concerns about the potential declassification of the electrical trade to a “skill set” based model. It was prepared by the IBEW CCO in cooperation with the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario (ECAO), the Ontario Electrical League (OEL) and the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC).

“We’re making every effort to ensure that the 309A electrical license, as a restricted compulsory trade, is viewed through the lens of health and safety,” said Barry.

Next Steps

Minister McNaughton will also be speaking at the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario AGM later this month which many IBEW representatives will be attending.