Ontario PCs Plan for Job Opportunities and Growth: Hudak
23 July 2012
“The Conservatives have put forward a slew of thoughtful and potentially helpful suggestions about the province’s economic reality, and how updating labour laws could help change things for the better.”
- Chris Vander Doelen, The Windsor Star July 17, 2012
OTTAWA – Ontario can once again be a place where new graduates have opportunities to earn good paying jobs, but to get there, government needs an integrated and comprehensive plan for job creation. This includes standing up to union bosses and standing up for students by modernizing Ontario’s apprenticeship system, Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak said today.
Hudak made the comments while touring Algonquin College, where he met with incoming college President Kent MacDonald and discussed the PC plan for jobs and growth. Algonquin offers a variety of different skilled-trades training programs including plumbing and carpentry that would benefit from the PC skilled-trades plan.
“We would lower the apprenticeship ratio to one-to-one, while delegating more responsibility to Ontario colleges for matching apprentices up with employers,” Hudak said. “This will make it easier for Algonquin graduates to enter the workplace, find jobs and learn directly from experienced professionals in their trades,” Hudak added.
The result would be 200,000 new skilled-trades jobs – from sheet metal workers to electricians. But the current government’s indebtedness to union bosses explains their unwillingness to modernize apprenticeships, Hudak added.
By allowing employers to take on more apprentices and giving more responsibility to colleges, more young people can put their education to work, Hudak added. The need for action is urgent, as 46,000 men and women are currently without work in the Ottawa Region. “What’s more, youth unemployment in Ontario is 17 per cent – the highest in the country outside Atlantic Canada,” Hudak noted.
Ontario PC MPP Lisa MacLeod added that “the skilled-trades are very entrepreneurial jobs. After five or six years, new graduates eventually gain the experience to open up their own business and hire people, making skilled trades jobs vital to the Ottawa Region’s economy.”
Since the fall, Tim Hudak and Ontario PC Caucus have tabled strong ideas for jobs and growth including: a legislated mandatory public-sector wage freeze, treating energy as a cornerstone of economic growth, tax relief for businesses and changing the attitude of government by welcoming job creators – not deterring them with regulations and red tape.
Hudak also proposes a bold revision of Ontario’s 1940s era labour laws in his Paths to Prosperity Flexible Labour Markets white paper. One idea calls for modernizing tendering rules to open up more government work to private sector competition, which would allow skilled-trades professionals to pursue more job opportunities. The PC white paper has been vehemently opposed by union bosses who want to maintain their power grip.
“Despite the backlash from big labour special interests, more and more, Ontarians agree that these are the steps we must take to unleash our province’s true potential, leverage our competitive advantages and, most importantly, create jobs,” Hudak concluded