The IBEW CCO welcomes the news that Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton has been given the added responsibility of oversight for the training and development of skilled trades.
On Monday Oct. 20, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that his new portfolio will be Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
“This transfer of responsibility is an important first step to ensuring there is not only a proper focus on the importance of skilled trades but that public and worker safety is directly tied to training and oversight,” said James Barry, Executive Chairman of the IBEW CCO.
“We are hopeful that we will see further action by Minister McNaughton to ensure regulations are in place to protect the integrity of the electrical trade and the scope of practice of the 309A licence,” said Barry.
“Since the day Minister McNaughton was appointed as Minister of Labour he has shown an incredible interest in the skilled trades portfolio, travelling across the province to visit training centres and learn more about the need for high standards to ensure public safety and reliable infrastructure,” added Barry.
Yesterday Minister McNaughton visited the IBEW 303 in Niagara Falls to visit members and tour their training centre. This visit follows on the heels of visits to several other IBEW training centres. Today the Minister is speaking at the AGM for the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario.
“We were proud to show Minister McNaughton the level of training we provide to apprentices and our journeypersons to ensure electrical work provided by our members is done safely and to a high standard,” said Mark Cherney, Business Manager of Local 303.
Minister McNaughton has been active in meeting with a broad range of representation within the construction sector with a focus on collaboration.
“In my long history with the IBEW, I am not sure I have seen a Labour Minister invest so much time so quickly in learning and meeting with a cross section of industry representatives. We congratulate him on his new portfolio and look forward to working with him to help maintain high standards and promote the importance of skills and training in the electrical industry.” added Barry.
Barry noted the dangers related to electrical work that were highlighted last month, in what media called Black Thursday, where there were three separate electrical incidents within 24 hours that resulted in two electrocution deaths and two others injured. The incidents did not involve IBEW electricians.
“Electrical work can be a very rewarding career but it is also dangerous. It’s that simple. Our goal is to make sure everyone goes home safely at the end of the day. There will be no incentive for young people to pursue a career in the electrical trade if they can’t feel confident there are rules and enforcement in place to ensure the trade is restricted to only those who have successfully completed the required training and successfully passed Red Seal exam for the Certificate of Qualification,” he said.