Posted on December 20, 2016 at 10:00 am
Protest horns blare at MPP office
Outside the Rockland office of MPP Grant Crack, Friday afternoon, the temperature hovered around 25 degrees below zero, on one of the coldest days, so far, of December this year.
On the sidewalk fronting the office parking lot, dozens of local electricians, plumbers and others in the building trades had hot words and blaring air horns for the provincial deputy and Ontario’s Liberal government.
“It’s about safety,” said Alain Gourgon, one of the local spokesmen. “It’s about Bill 70, and Schedule 17.”
All across the province, Ontario’s tradespeople are staging protest rallies outside of MPP offices and other provincial government sites. Bill 70 is omnibus legislation dealing with budget matters, but the focus of Schedule 17 is not on expenses or debits.
“They slipped in the Schedule 17 (section),” said Gourgon, “which will take away the power of the College of Trades and give it to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB).”
The industry-run college certifies 20 “compulsory trades” like electricians, plumbers and pipefitters. The concern among tradespeople is that the OLRB will have the power to review or overrule some college decisions and make it easier for non-certified labour to work on projects without having the professional certification required and going through the usual apprenticeship and journeyman training period.