New legislation buried deep in the government’s omnibus budget measures Act, Bill 70, will hurt the integrity of skilled trades and put workers in danger and should be withdrawn according to a unanimous motion passed today by the 150 delegates to the CUPE Ontario annual Trades Conference in Niagara Falls.

“By creating new, legal avenues for employers to assign work that should be performed by certified tradespersons to persons not trained and certified, Schedule 17 of Bill 70 will put individuals in danger by asking them to do work they are not trained and certified to perform,” says Domenic Maugeri, Co-Chair of the Trades Conference, and a member of CUPE Ontario’s executive board.

“The legislation will damage the integrity of compulsory skilled trades in Ontario and weaken the ability of the College of Trades to support the trades and enforce rules protecting the trades,” says Gaetano Franco, Co-Chair of the conference.

CUPE is also worried that the legislation will empower the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to overrule the enforcement efforts of the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) and pit the OLRB and the OCOT against one another.

The motion, passed unanimously at the Niagara Falls gathering, calls on Premier Kathleen Wynne, Finance Minister Charles Sousa, Labour Minister Kevin Flynn and Safety Minister David Orazietti to scrap Schedule 17 of Bill 70 before the legislation is called for third and final reading in the provincial legislature.

“Certified trades people are an integral part of our skilled economy, provide good jobs in our communities and play a critical roll in ensuring high quality work that makes us all safer,” says CUPE Ontario President, Fred Hahn. “The idea that our provincial government knowingly wants to undermine this work, makes no sense. We hope we can get the government to resolve the problem with the legislation quickly.”

CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with more than 260,000 members providing quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.