A recent announcement by the new provincial government to repeal and replace Bill 148, a piece of legislation that was deemed “too much, too fast” by chambers of commerce across Ontario, is welcomed by the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce.
“These changes are encouraging,” said Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce. “We see the corrective steps being proposed through the Making Ontario Open for Business as being a bold step toward creating a stronger and more prosperous province.”
The new legislation will maintain some important provisions such as emergency leave for cases of domestic or sexual violence and 3 weeks holiday after 5 years of working for the same employer. It also includes much-needed improvements to the ratio of journeyperson-to-apprentice.
“It is now more critical than ever to create an economy that ensures both employers and employees are prepared for the labour market needs of tomorrow,” said de Silva. The compounding labour reforms and unintended consequences of Bill 148 came at too high a cost to Ontario’s economy.”
According to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, in the months following the introduction of Bill 148, prices have increased for everyday consumer goods and services, impacting every family in Ontario and in the long term, Bill 148 was expected to put between 50,000 and 180,000 jobs at risk and cost the economy at least $150 million.
Ontario College of Trades
In announcing changes to the skilled trades apprenticeship system, the new provincial government sees the need to be more responsive to the needs of the economy and to address a dire labour shortage.
The Ontario College of Trades has become overly focused on enforcement and regulation, limiting its ability to serve the public interest by attracting and training new tradespeople.
With that in mind, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber joined with the Ontario Chamber Network in advocating for a modernization of the College of Trades and the apprenticeship application system, promoting the skilled trades as a viable career option for young people, and revising the system to create more opportunities within the skilled trades.
“Because those reforms were not made through the Ontario College of Trades, the recommended dismantling of that needless bureaucracy is going forward, with responsibility for trades regulation going back to the Province,” said de Silva. “We welcome that move.”