News & Media

Schedule 17 is Not a Union Issue

December 19, 2016

Since IBEW and other unions have begun the fight against Bill 70 Schedule 17, we’ve become concerned over the amount of misunderstanding about what it is and why we’re fighting it.

As members of the Progressive Certified Trades Coalition, we agree with president Jim Hogarth’s letter below. We feel it explains how we’re not trying to take away work from others, we’re only trying to have electricians do the work they should be doing in order to maintain safety for everyone – including the public.

In brief, here is why we’re against Schedule 17:

  1. Bureaucrats with little knowledge about electrical work will be deciding what tasks should be done by electricians and what should be done by general labourers. Sometimes these tasks, while seemingly menial, can affect worker and public safety.
  2. This will give the Ontario Ministry of Labour power to veto legitimate tickets for illegal work issued by the Ontario College of Trades.

Taking a stand against Schedule 17 is not about a union fighting against other unions. This is about protecting the definition of all skilled trades, whether they are unionized or not. These definitions and scopes of practice have been set up to preserve the safety of all workers and the public.

Letter from the President of the Progressive Certified Trades Coalition

Jim Hogarth, President of the Progressive Certified Trades Coalition (PCTC) at Queen's Park November 30, 2016

Jim Hogarth, President of the Progressive Certified Trades Coalition (PCTC), speaking at Queen’s Park on November 30.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As you know, the Progressive Certified Trades Coalition has been very vocal in its concern over Schedule 17 of Bill 70 due to its potential to erode the value of certification and put both workers and the public at risk.

The Coalition’s members have stood in solidarity, letting Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne know where we stand on these troubling amendments to The Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009. On November 30, more than 4,000 journeypersons, union representatives, employers and apprentices rallied at Queen’s Park. There have been other demonstrations across the province since then.

I do feel it is important to clarify what has been misconstrued by some about our concerns with Schedule 17. Our actions are not intended in any way to denigrate other unions or trades or to treat this as a battle for jurisdiction. We have a long and successful history of working together to address jurisdictional disputes. We are not looking to take work from anyone, only to protect what is ours and to ensure worker and consumer protection.

Our primary concern is that these amendments will make it easier for unscrupulous businesses to hire cheaper, untrained individuals to do work that requires specific skills and qualifications. It strikes at the very core of what we do and the investments we have made in our apprenticeship and training. Every tradesperson should be concerned about the direction of these amendments and the message it is sending.

It is imperative that the government continue to promote and protect the value of certification in both the voluntary and compulsory trades. They should be raising not lowering the standards of our trades.

I believe our goals are the same – we want a safe workplace, we want to stop the underground economy from taking our jobs and we want fair compensation for our work. Schedule 17 threatens to undermine those goals and that is why we are opposed to its implementation.

Sincerely and fraternally,
Jim Hogarth, President
Progressive Certified Trades Coalition

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