What are the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) inspectors’ powers?

There are rumours out there that the Ontario College of Trades’ inspectors, under the Ontario College of Trades and Apprentices Act (OCTAA) 2009) have more power than the Ontario Ministry of Labour inspectors under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

It appears that this is a myth. A close reading of both acts will prove this.

The OSHA legislation expressly authorizes Ministry of Labour inspectors to enter business premises “without warrant” and question individuals in connection with their inspection.

The OCTAA legislation does NOT include a similar provision. OCOT inspectors do not carry such powers, although it’s possible some might give you that impression if they show up at your jobsite.

If OCOT inspectors appear at your work place, ask them for identification, and, if you feel up to it, have a copy of the following in your wallet or in your truck, and ask them if they are in compliance. They are there to check your own compliance with the law. Ask them to prove their own!

Below is the relevant section of the Ontario College of Trades and Apprentices Act…

Note that, at the top of section 53 (1), it is clear that the “Registrar” (or his appointed “inspector”, i.e., the OCOT’s enforcement officers) must have reasonable and probable grounds to conduct an investigation into your activities. As what those reasonable and probable grounds are.

And note under section 53 (7) that the”occupier” of the dwelling does not have to let the inspector onto the premises. And this clause is not qualified in any way.

And under section 56, it’s clear that if the OCOT wants to force their way onto your jobsite, in spite of the above, that they will need a warrant from a Justice of the Peace, to do so.

This is the law, available freely online if you Google “Ontario College of Trades and Apprentices Act.”

Read article at: Canadian Contractors magazine

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