Fee hike to nail Ontario trade workers

The Ontario College of Trades, created by provincial legislation in 2009, has proposed a membership fee hike as it takes over the licensing, certification and promotion of trades.

Current cost of $60 over 3 years could rise to $200 per year

People who work in trades say fees will drive away young people looking to enter fields like plumbing and welding. 1:58

Licensing and certification fees for Ontario skilled trade workers could rise significantly as a new organization takes over the promotion of trades in the province.

The Ontario College of Trades, created by the Liberal government through provincial legislation in 2009, is taking the job over from the Ministry of Labour.

The reorganization means the $60 fee for a three-year certificate of qualification could soon cost $200 per year for the approximately 500,000 trade workers in Ontario, according to a proposal.

The college, which represents 157 different trades in Ontario — from hairdressers to plumbers — said it hopes to improve promotion and advocacy work of Ontario trades.

"It's basically taxation without representation, as far as I'm concerned," said John Paterson, a plumber and electrician in Kemptville, about 40 km south of Ottawa.

"We pay enough fees to all the other associations but at least we get a benefit from those associations."

Feedback from workers sought

The college is currently asking for feedback about the proposed membership fees until Sunday.

The college is then expected to make recommendations to their board of directors in six months. Members will find out the exact membership fee by the end of 2012 and the fees could be implemented sometime in 2013.

One of the concerns is that this increase in costs could deter future trade workers in Ontario.

"They're trying to attract people more and more into the trades and this certainly isn't going to help by putting the price up," said Ottawa business owner David Cryderman.

Cryderman added the increased fees would likely mean higher costs for consumers.