May 6, 2021: Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act

May 6, 2021

Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act

Today, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, introduced new legislation entitled Building Opportunities in Skilled Trades Act to make the province’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system more efficient, accessible, and easier to navigate.

The new bill will incorporate the Skilled Trades Panel recommendations and the government’s prior commitments. Under the proposed legislation, Skilled Trades Ontario would become the province’s industry-informed training authority to lead the promotion, research and development of the latest apprenticeship training and curriculum standards. It will also provide a seamless experience for client-facing services including registration, issuance of certificates and renewals, and conduct equivalency assessments in one place.

In early 2020, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development received approval to move forward with a Skilled Trades Strategy that focused on:

  • Breaking the stigma and attracting more young people to the skilled trades
  • Simplifying the System
  • Encouraging Employee Participation in apprenticeships

In September 2020, the Minister appointed a five-member Skilled Trades Panel to consult and provide advice and recommendations on a new service delivery model to replace the current services delivered by Ontario College of Trades and on matters related to the classification and training for trades.

A copy of the Phase 1 Panel report is available here.

The Panel would like feedback on matters to the classification and training for the trades in Phase 2 consultations. You can email your feedback on these topics to by June 18, 2021, using the subject line Feedback on Phase 2.

The proposed legislation divides responsibility for apprenticeship between Skilled Trades Ontario and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development as follows:

Training & Certification: Skilled Trades Ontario (STO)

As Ontario’s industry training authority, the agency will promote the skilled trades as career of choice, develop industry-informed training standards, and deliver client-facing services.

  • Apprentice registration
  • Development and maintenance of apprenticeship training and curriculum standards
  • Development, maintenance, and administration of examination
  • Issuance of certificates and licenses
  • Administration of hearings relating to registration, certification and licensing decisions
  • Assessment of non-apprenticeship stream applicants (trade equivalency assessments)
  • Maintain the Public Register
  • Maintain the Digital Portal

Compliance & Enforcement: Ministry, Occupational Health & Safety Inspectorate

System oversight and regulatory decisions

  • Agency oversight
  • Legislation and regulatory governance
  • Compliance and enforcement, including the ability to establish an advisory committee
  • Promotion and oversight for labour mobility for Canadian and international tradespeople
  • Program design and administration of skilled trades and apprenticeship funding programs and supports

The Minister would continue to:

  • Approve and fund in-class training providers
  • Prescribe trades for the purposes of apprenticeship training
  • Classify trades as compulsory (mandatory training and certifications)
  • Regulatory decisions like ratios and exemptions

Shared Functions

  • Research into skilled trades and apprenticeship
  • Promotion of skilled trades and apprenticeship
  • Participation on the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship

The proposed agency, Skilled Trades Ontario, would be made up of an 11-member Board of Directors and a CEO/Registrar appointed by the government. STO’s Board will be empowered to establish industry advisory committees and recommend apprentice and/or journeyperson fees to the Minister for review and approval.

Learn more about the new legislation entitled Building Opportunities in Skilled Trades Act here.



Katherine Jacobs
Director of Research

Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS)
180 Attwell Drive, Suite 360, Toronto, ON M9W 6A9
P 416.620.5210 ext. 222
F 416.620.5310