Clive Thurston resigns amid battle with the Ontario College of Trades

Posted by on Aug 21, 2012 in News | 0 comments

The Ontario College of Trade (OCOT) was created in 2009 and is comprised of professionals from the construction, motive power, industrial and service sectors, as well as the Ontario Labour Relations Board. The purpose of the OCOT, and its evaluating body, the Roster of Adjudicators, is to review certain trade-related matters, particularly those concerning professional formation such as journeymen, apprenticeships and certification. The OCOT intends to begin enrolling members January 1, 2013, and would conceivably represent tens of thousands of skilled labourers.

During the past several months the Ontario Construction Employers Coalition (OCEC) has begun gaining momentum in its criticism of the OCOT, and calls for its abolition or reform. Clive Thurston, President of Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA), recently resigned from the OCOT’s Roster of Adjudicators, citing his frustration and disappointment with the OCOT’s first review. Thurston alleges that the review process is biased and that the OCOT does not function in the best interests of skilled trade workers or employers, but rather operates according to an agenda that seeks to bring what he describes as “Quebec-style” labour practices into the Ontario construction labour market. Thurston asserts that the OCOT failed to properly review objective data or empirical research, but rather operated according to an agenda that failed to appropriately address the needs of the industry. Thurston’s resignation coincides with the with the OGCA’s withdrawing of support for the OCOT, however Thurston maintains that there is no relation between the two events and that his actions were a personal choice and do not reflect the viewpoint of the OGCA.