Comments Regarding Millwright Application for Classification Review
I am sending you this comment as the representative of the Ontario Erectors Association (OEA). The OEA is a not for profit organization that represents more than 250 member companies in Ontario that fabricate and erect structural steel, glazing and curtain wall products throughout the province. Many of our member companies work in other jurisdictions throughout North America. In addition, many of our member companies are multi-trade companies that employ both millwrights and ironworkers in their daily operations
We, at the OEA are very concerned that the practice of a trade trying to become compulsory is flawed and unwarranted. It is our understanding that when the compulsory trades were first introduced, it was because there was perceived danger to the general public due to unskilled and untrained personnel performing tasks that they were unqualified to undertake. As a consequence it was deemed that that particular trade had to be regulated.
It is the opinion of the OEA membership that the application of the Millwrights to change their classification from voluntary to compulsory does not add advantage to the trade, or to the public in safety in any way. There is no doubt that the Millwright trades-people have unique skills that they employ on a daily basis to do the work that that they have been assigned. They have and will continue to undertake rigorous training sessions to enhance their skills in the areas of safety, environment and actual removal and installation procedures for the work they perform. However, this is no different than all of the other voluntary trades in the province. They are not unique and they do not require any special recognition outside of their current status as a voluntary trade.
It is the opinion of the OEA that a reclassification of the trade from voluntary to compulsory would have no affect whatsoever on the health and safety of its apprentices, journeypersons in the trade or the general public. They would continue to do the same work for the same contractors side by side with the other trades in the industry. Their workers would continue to get the training and resources they need to perform their assigned tasks in a safe and professional manner.
It is the opinion of the OEA that a reclassification of the trade would have no affect whatsoever on the environment. They would continue to do the same work for the same contractors side by side with the other trades in the industry and would do all that they currently do to protect the environment. Their workers would continue to get the training and resources they need to perform their assigned tasks in a safe and professional manner.
It is the opinion of the OEA that a reclassification of the trade from voluntary to compulsory would have a significant economic impact on employers, employer associations, owners of projects, other trade unions, etc. By making this trade compulsory the door would be open for the Millwrights to claim work that is currently assigned to other qualified trades and the relatively harmonious atmosphere that currently exists would disappear. Projects would be subject to disputes on an almost daily basis. Contractors would suffer irrecoverable expenses. Owners would be subjected to higher prices for their projects by contractors as the contractors attempt to recover their lost productivity and dispute resolution costs. In short, we believe that a reclassification of the Millwrights would cause irreparable damage to the industry as we know it.
From the time that the voluntary trades were first established there have been many conflicts over jurisdiction. There are many overlapping skill sets within the trades, especially between the Ironworker and the Millwright. There are many agreements in place through the Ontario Labour Relations Board for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional projects between these two trades, and many other voluntary trades. These settlement agreements for these jurisdictional disputes could all come undone if this trade is given special recognition.
It is the opinion of the OEA that there is only one reason for the Millwright trade to be applying for compulsory status. That is to take advantage of a loophole in recent legislation. They are in effect trying to take advantage of jurisdictional overlaps with the other trades, especially that of the Ironworker. Given the environment under which all of the trades currently operate, our collective adherence to training, safety, and environmental standards and with the overriding principal to protect the public from harm, we see no other reason why they would be seeking special recognition.
The Ironworker and the Millwright have had harmonious relations for many decades. We would very much like that to continue and therefore the Ontario Erectors Association respectfully request that the trade of Millwright stay as voluntary and not be given special recognition.
Ontario Erectors Association Inc.