Thousands of tradespeople in Ontario will finally receive a paper copy of their certificate after waiting several months for a backup in the system to clear up.
The backlog began in January 2022 when the provincial government replaced the Ontario College of Trades with the new agency called Skilled Trades Ontario.
A certificate of qualification is an official document that proves that a person is qualified to work in a particular skilled trade in this province. Skilled Trades Ontario has offered certificates virtually, but many tradespeople may prefer to have a physical copy of certification — such as a wallet card which, as described, fit in a worker’s wallet — to show people.
Melissa Young, CEO of Skilled Trades Ontario, said there were 17,500 certificate of qualifications that need to be issued.
“People have been waiting a long time and actually it’s been one of the things that industry has been honest about pretty persistently to get to get these out. Because right now it’s a bit of an issue on job sites for premises and journeypeople to show their credentials if they … have been certified since January of 2022,” Young said.
The announcement that Skilled Trades Ontario will begin issuing physical copies of certificates of qualifications and wallet cards was made on Monday in Guelph.
Certificates are testament to hard work
Matthew Culbert, a general machinist at Linamar Corporation, became the first person to ever receive a Skilled Trades Ontario certificate on Monday.
“It has been quite a journey,” he said.
Michelle Brush-Jacklin, a public school teacher, was the second person to receive a Skilled Trades Ontario certificate during Monday’s press conference.
“I am looking forward to proudly displaying this in my OYAP [hairstylist] classroom at Nelson High School in Burlington,” she said.
Young said all the other newly certified tradespersons who have not yet received their Skilled Trades Ontario certificate will be shortly receiving it in the mail.
“These documents do more than just validate credentials,” Young said.
“They’re a true testament to your hard work, resilience, and unwavering dedication. I look forward to seeing them proudly displayed in businesses and work sites across the province.”
Certificates of qualification issued prior to Jan. 1, 2022, will continue to be valid and recognized by Skilled Trades Ontario. As well, the online service for verification of status and license details for apprentices and journeypersons will remain available and will be updated, Skilled Trades Ontario says.
Paperwork instills confidence
Several trades organizations issued statements as part of a press release from Skilled Trades Ontario in support of the move to issue paper copies of qualification certificates.
Adam Melnick, director of Canadian affairs with the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers said when an apprentice finishes three to five years of work, “the certificate of qualification is a significant achievement and one that signals to the holder that they are in fact a skilled trade professional.”
“It also allows for the general public to know with confidence that the holder of the Certificate of Qualification has completed a significant journey to gain the skills and abilities,” Melnick said.
Ian DeWaard, provincial director for the Christian Labour Association of Canada, said being a certified tradesperson “is a point of pride” for many.
“Just like any trained professional, their credentials distinguish them as experts in their field,” DeWaard said, adding the move shows that Skilled Trades Ontario “is listening to front-line workers who have been asking for this easy-to-use demonstration of their journeyperson status.”
Tanya Hill, president of the Ontario Professional Hairstylist Association, said the certificates and wallet cards are important because “clients deserve to know they are in trained, certified hands and accomplished trades people have earned that recognition.”