Stay informed and discover the latest happenings in Belleville, Ontario with the Belleville Chamber of Commerce News.
Repeal of Bill 148
The Government of Ontario’s announcement regarding the Making Ontario Open for Business Act included a near-full repeal of Bill 148. This is welcome news for workers and businesses of all sizes throughout Ontario, as well as a bold step in creating a stronger and more prosperous province.
On behalf of our 60,000 members in 135 communities, we are absolutely thrilled that the Government of Ontario is holding strong in its commitment to keep Ontario open for business. 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.
Apprenticeship ratio set at 1:1
In October 2013, the OCC released a report, Caution: Work Ahead, detailing specific recommendations on how to make the College more responsive to the overall needs of the economy.
The College’s decisions around journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios and compulsory certification are being made without sufficient data and representation from affected parties. The College’s trade classification process lacks transparency and is biased toward increasing the number of compulsory trades. The College’s onerous ratio review process is biased against small and rural businesses. The College has not lived up to its mandate of increasing the number of workers in the skilled trades in Ontario and continued with ratios that industry could not work with and the OCC has advocated for it to be dismantled.
Provincial Forestry Strategy
The OCC has advocated for a provincial Ontario forestry strategy that removes made-in Ontario barriers and increases reliable access to harvest volumes that will make the sector more competitive. The Ontario Government’s announcement that they will be holding consultations is an excellent first step to create a strategy that supports economic growth across the province.
Dissolution of the Ontario College of Trades
Recent news signals the provincial government’s commitment to making Ontario’s skilled trades apprenticeship system more responsive to the needs of the economy, and to addressing a dire labour shortage. The College has become overly focused on enforcement and regulation, limiting its ability to serve the public interest by attracting and training new tradespeople.
The OCC has long advocated for the College to modernize the apprenticeship application system, promote the skilled trades as a viable career option for young people, and revise the journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio framework to create more opportunities within the skilled trades. As these reforms were not made, the OCC recommended to dismantle the College and return responsibility for trades regulation to the Province.
Insurance Premium Rate Reduction
The OCC and its 60,000 members have long advocated for reducing premiums and creating the right conditions for building a healthy and safe workplace. This announcement is welcome news for workers and businesses in all corners of the province. Premiums come out of the pockets of business owners. This change means money saved can be better spent on job creation, new technologies and infrastructure, and better, safer workplaces.
Private Cannabis Retail Model
The OCC has advocated for a private-sector, licensing-based, and locally-oriented approach for the distribution of recreational cannabis since commitments for legalization were made by the federal government in 2016. We look forward to continuing our work with the Government of Ontario during their consultation process. We support the government’s commitment to a strict licensing regime that will protect young people and combat illicit crime. Safety and social responsibility must be the priority of any distribution system.