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Ontario’s New Governing Body for the Skilled Trades Opens its Doors

Skilled Trades Ontario (STO) is the province’s new governing body for the skilled trades. STO is a Crown agency, meaning it is accountable to government but enjoys greater freedom from direct government control than do government departments. The STO is led by an independent Board of Directors.

STO will address Ontario’s skilled labour shortage that is fuelled by;

  • Low completion rates
    • For years, completion rates in Ontario have hovered below 50%.
  • Low apprenticeship registrations.
    • Ontario is the most populated region in Canada, but has less than 25% of total national apprenticeship registrations.
  • An aging trades workforce
    • In 2016, 1 in 3 tradespeople in Ontario were over the age of 55.

Addressing the labour shortage is critical. By 2025, 1 in 5 jobs in Ontario will be in the trades. At the same time, the province is projected to be short 350,000 tradespeople.

To address the labour shortage, STO will work to break the stigma associated with a career in the trades. It will also promote and market the trades, improve trades training and encourage employer participation. Additionally, STO’s new online service is expected to reduce processing and registration times for applicants from 60 days to 12.

Responsibilities for the skilled trades fall under STO and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD).  Among other things, STO is responsible for developing training curriculum standards, maintaining a public registrar and issuing Certificates of Qualification. The MLTSD is responsible for trade prescription and de-prescription, setting ratios, defining scopes of practice and trade classification. With a force of 500 inspectors, the MLTSD has assumed responsibility for compliance and enforcement.

Check out Skilled Trades Ontario’s website here.