The College of Trades Offers New Opportunities for the Foodservice Industry


Volume 48, Number Three

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he foodservice industry is crowded with chefs, cooks and bakers passionate about their craft — you’d have to be to work 14-hour days. But that leaves little time for other parts of the job, such as learning about organizations created to feed the sustainability of the business. That’s where Norman Wolfson, partner at Toronto-based Lecours Wolfson, recruiters for the hospitality industry, comes in. Appointed by the Government of Ontario in 2010 to the Transitional Board of Governors and The Appointments Council for the newly established Ontario College of Trades, he’s spreading the word about The College of Trades and its governance opportunities. He recently shared his insights in the Q&A that follows.

F&H: What is the College of Trades, and what’s its purpose?
Norman Wolfson: The Ontario College of Trades was established in 2009 by the province as a regulatory body conceived to modernize the province’s apprenticeship and skilled trades system. It’s a self-governing college — not unlike teacher’s, doctor’s and nurse’s colleges in Ontario — designed to act as an industry-driven champion for the trades in Ontario. It belongs to its members, allows for all tradespeople and employers’ voices to be heard and is designed to protect the public interest. The college establishes the scope of practice and creates policies and procedures for the trades.

F&H: What is the difference between a voluntary and compulsory trade?

NW: Many skilled trades have been designated as compulsory, such as electricians or plumbers. To practise in these trades, an individual must be a licensed journeyperson with a valid Certificate of Qualification (C of Q), have a provisional C of Q or be a registered apprentice with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Anyone practising a compulsory trade in Ontario must be a member in good standing with the Ontario College of Trades. The majority of the trades that fall under the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act are voluntary, which means certification is offered, but it is not a legal requirement to practise in that trade. Cook, assistant cook, chef, baker and baker-pâtissier are all
voluntary trades.

F&H: Why is it important for those in the voluntary trades to join the College of Trades?
NW: The Ontario College of Trades promotes careers in the skilled trades, ensures the apprenticeship and skilled trades system in Ontario aligns with the needs of the economy and gives the industry a greater role in governance, certification and apprenticeship training instead of government making decisions for the trades. It provides a complaints, investigation and discipline process that protects the public and has a public register, so the public and employers know who is qualified and able to work as a journeyperson. I believe this gives employers and tradespeople in Ontario a
competitive advantage.

F&H: How can someone get involved in the governance of The College of Trades?
NW: There are three distinct platforms where members of specific trades can participate. A member of the chef/cook or baker/pâtissier trade can directly impact the administration of related apprenticeship programs by joining a Trade Board and providing industry insight to the college’s Service Divisional Board and Board of Governors. Each Board is made up of an equal number of employee and employer representatives. If you are a certified chef, cook, baker, pâtissier — meaning you possess a valid C of Q — or an employer, you can apply to various levels of the college’s governance, including chef/cook or baker/pâtissier Trade Boards, the Service Divisional Board or the Board of Governors.

Visit The Ontario College of Trades at, and find out about participating in the governance structure of the Ontario College of Trades at

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