The GTA Construction Report – November 2010 – PAGE B1 Toronto Sheet Metal Contractors Association (TMSCA)
Certification takes on new job-site importance as Ministry of Labour inspectors enforce the rules
STAFF WRITER – The GTA Construction Report Special Feature
Business owners and general contractors trying to save some costs by ignoring a key rule – sheet metal workers need to be certified or be qualified apprentices – have discovered a nasty surprise in the past year.
Ministry of Labour inspectors are making job site visits and asking for certification documentation, reminding everyone that the Government is not prepared to tolerate unqualified tradespeople installing sheet metal. Certification ensures that health, safety and energy-efficiency and environmental stan- dards are observed on the job-site and in the finished work. This certification is not a problem for Toronto Sheet Metal Contractors’ Association (TSMCA) because all of the 140 TSMCA contractors’ employees have complied with the re- quirements to serve a five-year apprenticeship, with 9,000 hours of on-the-job experience and three in-school sessions of eight weeks. TSMCA executive director Wayne Peterson says the en- hanced inspection and requirement for certification verifica- tion has created some stress in the past year, even for TSMCA members. Properly qualified workers, who have shown up at job sites for years, sometimes don’t have their papers with them, so there is a scramble to prove their documentation is in order.
“But of course, to be employed by a TSMCA contractor, the employees must be a member of the union, and the union ensures all members are certified and that the employer com- plies with the law regarding the ratio of apprentices to jour- neymen on the site,” Peterson says. “So ultimately our members have no trouble proving their employees are quali- fied to work on the site.”
The same cannot be said for the non-union contractors who sometimes under-bid work and take shortcuts to save money. Some of the calls have been from (non-union) company own- ers who have been breaking the law using non-certified work- ers for extended periods of time.
They now need to prove their certification and face the prospect, unless they can challenge the exam, of having to start from scratch as an apprentice.
“It behooves a general or mechanical contractor to ensure their workers are certified or they will be fined.”
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