OCOT’s apprenticeship review ratios: 8:1 for reductions, in favour of employers

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Ottawa Construction News staff writer

Here is a summary of the apprenticeship review ratio decisions by the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT).

The ratio is the number of journeymen to the number of apprentices. In a 1:1 ratio, one apprentice could work in an organization with one journeyman. A 2:1 ratio would indicate that two journeymen are required before one apprentice could work.

As a rule, submissions from organized labour have asked for the ratios to remain the same or increased, while employer groups and the employer-friendly Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) has advocated for reduced ratios, which would allow employers to hire more lower-paid apprentices.

The data indicates that ratios have been reduced for eight trades so far, and increased for only one (floor covering installer), suggesting that the OCOT process is generally favouring the interests of organizations who have opposed the college’s establishment.

Floor covering installer

Original ratio: 1:1

New ratio 2:1 (increased)

Cement (concrete) finisher

Original ratio: 1:1, 3:1

New ratio: 1:1, 3:1 (unchanged)

(1:1 applies for the first apprentice, 3:1 applies for second and successive apprentices)

Cement mason

Original ratio: 1:1, 4:1

New ratio: 1:1, 3:1 (reduced)

(The College of Trades says “cement mason is no longer a trade prescribed under the OCTAA)

Hoisting engineers

Original ratio: 1:1

New ratio: 1:1 (unchanged)

Precast concrete erector/finisher

Original ratio: 1:1, 3:1

New ratio: 1:1, 3:1 (unchanged)

Roofers

Original ratio: 1:1, 3:1

New ratio: 1:1, 2:1 (reduced)

Terrazzo, tile and marble setter

Original ratio: 1:1, 3:1

New ratio: 1:1, 2:1 (reduced)

Architectural, glass and metal technician

Original ratio: 1:1, 2:1

New ratio: 1:1, 2:1 (unchanged)

Construction boilermaker

Original ratio: 1:1, 3:1

New ratio: 1:1, 3:1 (unchanged)

Heat and frost insulator

Original ratio: 1:1, 3:1

New ratio: 1:1, 3:1 (unchanged)

Brick and stone mason and restoration mason

Original ratio: 1:1, 3:1

New ratio: 1:1, 2:1 (reduced)

Construction millwright

Original ratio: 1:1, 4:1

New ratio: 1:1, 3:1 (reduced)

Ironworker (generalist, structural and ornamental and reinforcing rodworker)

Original ratio: 1:1, 2:1

New ratio: 1:1, 2:1 (unchanged)

Painter and decorator

Original ratio 1:1 (first two journeymen), then 1:2 (next two journeymen); then 1:3 (5 or more journeypersons

New ratio: 1:1, 1:2, 1:3 (mostly unchanged – see OCOT website for specifics)

Plumber and steamfitter

Original ratio: 1:1, 3:1

New ratio: 1:1, 2:1 (reduced)

Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic

Original ratio: 1: 1, special table, 3:1 (for contractors with more than seven journeymen)

New ratio: 1:1, 2:1 (reduced)

Residential (low-rise) sheet metal installer

Original ratio: 3:1

New ratio: 3:1 (unchanged)

Sheet metal worker

Original ratio: 3:1

New ratio: 1:1, 3:1, 2:1 (3:1 applies when between two and seven journeypersons, 3:1 applies for additional apprentices when there are more than seven journeypersons) (reduction)

Tristan Austin, the OCOT’s senior communications officer, said review panels still need to make decisions on what are described as “Group D trades” including:

  • Drywall, acoustic and lather applicator and drywall finisher and plasterer
  • electricians (construction and maintenance, and domestic and rural)
  • general carpenter;
  • powerline technician; and
  • sprinkler and fire protection installer.

Ratio review decisions have been posted on the OCOT’s website at www.collegeoftrades.ca

2 COMMENTS

  1. so I am in sheet metal and I have 1 journey man plus me the owner (I am a journey man also ) I have 1 apprentice now , can I get I more under new rules ? thanks

    • Probably not. The existing 1:3 ratio applies for second and successive apprentices, until there are, as I understand it, seven journeymen, and then the ratio declines to 1:2. This effectively allows larger organizations to add additional apprentices, but will do little for smaller businesses.

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