Candidates who are interested in entering any of several trades have
ready access to instruction via hobby kits, instructional video programs
as well as instructional online programs. A candidate for motorcycle or
automotive technician could gain experience at home as a teenager,
helping to maintain a family vehicle as has been the case for
generations. In the modern era, they have ready access to chat forums
and online instructional programs. This author has personally been
acquainted with teenagers who rebuilt a small engine (lawnmower, moped)
without having attended a college apprenticeship program.
Many a teenaged girl has learned hairstyling at home, beginning with her
own hair and assisting to style the hair of younger siblings. Many of
the tools of the hairstyling trade are readily available in department
stores and instructional videos are available online and on compact
discs. A large number of interested women who never attended a formal
college apprenticeship program are quite capable of styling their own
hair and that of their children, partners, friends, and aged parents.
Several trades are extensions of activities that do-it-yourself
homeowners perform in their own homes. The instructional videos are
easily and readily available, as are the materials that a do-it-yourself
type would need, from any of several chain hardware stores. Such people
who undertakes renovations in their own homes could do likewise in the
homes of friends or relatives, who could then acquire some skill as the
assisting apprentice. They could acquire the skills they need without
ever having visited a college.
In Ontario, provincial government officials would oppose any attempt to
transfer the control of trade certification to employer associations.
Under such a regime, candidates could learn the introductory levels of a
trade at home, courtesy of instructional videos and using hobby kits,
old vehicles or doing home repairs. They could then do online testing to
gain access to an apprenticeship opening in a business willing to employ
them. Employer associations could run safety training programs for some
The famous American attorney Clarence Darrow began his career as an
apprentice to an established attorney, learning the trade as he assisted
his employer through a series of assignments and cases. In his later
years, he defended several very difficult and now famous cases. Bill
Gates of Microsoft opted out of a university degree program to develop
computer software. Several famous inventors such as Thomas Edison and
Nikola Tesla were self taught and invented technologies that the modern
world depends on.
Ontario’s proposal for compulsory registration of tradespeople is a
combination of a tax grab and a grab for power and control over people’s
livelihoods and ultimately their lives. It is a manifestation of crude
and vulgar political behaviour aimed at protecting the interests of a
minority of politically well-connected people. An absence of government
control over trades could go far in terms of reducing the shortage of
capable tradespeople in Ontario and across much of Canada.
There is absolutely zero need for government to abuse its power by
initiating any kind of forcible coercion or compulsion against peaceful
people who wish to be creative and constructive and pursue a trade.
There may be hundreds if not thousands of people whose hobbies or
pastimes may be the basis of a trade for which the market has a need. In
a privately administered apprenticeship regime, these people could do
online testing and acquire some certification to open a door to possible
employment opportunities. Too bad that a government regime such as
Ontario’s would never allow it.