The real cost of the College of Trades: An Albertan’s perspective

Ontario College of Trades logo

The Ottawa Construction News received this note from an out-of-province electrician.  He identified himself but we will not publish his name to protect his privacy.

The new Ontario College of Trades organization that will start next month is going to be the worst thing that happens to Ontario labour system.

I am an Alberta resident for the past 22 years after moving from the City of Sarnia and have always renewed my electrical license with a simple $60 fee every three years to the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities. I obtained my inter-provincial license in Ontario 33 years ago.

I heard about the Ontario College of Trades for the first time last week when I received a letter form them stating I will now have to pay them $360 per three years. In addition there will be skill improvement criteria and additional ongoing fees in the future. I asked the client services department of the College of Trades if any of the new Ontario trade regulations apply to me in Alberta and the answer was no. I asked why there is a 500 per cent  in crease in fees and they said it was to manage the Ontario trades program.

My current renewal through the Ontario Colleges and Universities expires in 2014. I have also been advised by the new Ontario College of Trades that I must start paying them immediately even though my tradesman certificate of qualification renewal was just completed through the government of Ontario.

I have a choice. Pay them the ransom demands of lose my inter-provincial electrical license. I was told by the client services department at the Ontario College of Trades that I will have no benefit from the Ontario program, no say into the program and ongoing absurd maintenance fees in order for me to continue to hold my electrician trade certification. It is the most disgusting thing I have seen in my 33 years as a qualified tradesman.

What does this mean to an Ontario young worker who may want to become a tradesman? He/she has choice. Start an apprenticeship and become a tradesman in Ontario that has too many new regulations in the new College of Trades and pay ongoing enormous membership fees in addition to skill improvement course fees or they could come to Alberta where the license is issued and good for life with no ongoing fees or hurdles.

If you have thoughts or experiences to share about the College of Trades, please send an email to


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