Saddlery and horse harness making may no longer be recognized by the Ontario College of Trades by July 2019. This means no formal training, certification or oversight in these industries.

Saddler Christian Lowe says every horse person in Ontario should be concerned because such a move will impact the quality of products and services, which can also impact the safety of horses and riders.

“There’s not enough regulation or oversight in this industry as it is,” he said. “We’re moving in the opposite direction to where we need to be.”

Lowe is urging horse people, the end users of the equipment that will be affected, to “stand up and demand better service.” The government is accepting feedback on the proposal until January 10, 2019. Comments can be sent to [email protected].

In a statement online, the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities described the proposal as such:

“The Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities is proposing amendments to O. Reg. 175/11 (Prescribed Trades and Related Matters) to remove 24 trades under the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009 with little to no activity (e.g., little to no apprenticeship registrations, completions and industry demand, not a Red Seal trade, and no training delivery agents).”

It goes on to note that:

“Existing apprentices in these trades would be encouraged to complete their apprenticeship program (if time permits) or transition out of the trade and explore other opportunities, including registering in another comparable trade. Active apprentices with skills and experiences equivalent to an apprenticeship program in a comparable trade could apply for trade certification through the College’s Trade Equivalency Assessment service.

“Those holding a Certificate of Qualification in one of the 22 voluntary trades would be able to continue practicing the work that is currently within the scope of practice for the trade.

“Under this proposal, as voluntary trades, apprentice saddlers and harness makers would have until July 2019 to complete certifications or transition to another trade.”

Apprenticeship programs are an excellent way to get people into the trades, and often subsidies are offered to employers who take on apprentices. No longer being included in the “Act” means it will now cost more to train people, and qualified workers will be harder to find. “This makes it difficult for people to expand their businesses and for the trades to thrive,” said Lowe, whose own recently-hired apprentice now has to decide whether to stay on, or look for a new trade for which a certificate is available.

In addition, Lowe said it’s frustrating for those who have become certified through an apprenticeship program to see their hard work and expertise devalued in this way.

The Ministry is welcoming comments, including any feedback, concerns or questions regarding the de-prescription of these trades. When submitting your comments, remember to include the following:

  • Your name and/or the name of your business
  • Contact number or e-mail (input submitted anonymously will not be considered)
  • Your view and why

Comments can be sent by mail, fax, or e-mail to:
Attention: Ministry’s Intent to De-Prescribe 24 Trades
Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Apprenticeship Branch
900 Bay Street, 15th Floor Mowat Block
Toronto ON M7A 1L2
Fax: 416-326-4811
E-mail: [email protected]