From 1973 until approximately 1977, The Association of Ontario Locksmiths (TAOL) operated out of a residential basement. Around the end of 1977 a small office was rented to house the Association. Because we did not at that time have any full time office staff these premises were not manned during business hours; someone would simply drop in to get the mail or return phone calls. Monthly board meetings were held there, and eventually small classes were held there as well. Those classes were taught either by some of our more experienced members or by guests from the U.S.A. Those classes were very popular at that time as sharing of locksmithing information was unheard of.

Around 1982 the Association temporarily moved to an empty classroom at Silverview School. After that we were temporarily housed in a garage off Yonge Street for a very short time. Our next move was to a storage room and a small office on Birchmount Road, a solution which lasted about a year. In 1983, we moved to a large industrial unit on Manville Road. The rear of this unit served as a training centre. During this time some of our members started working on a movie that came about because of our work with many Police Departments’ programs across the Province of Ontario, in particular neighbourhood watch. Our goal was to gain credibility for our Association and it’s members through our public relations committee.

Being actively involved with this program became a challenge. We commented to the Police on a film that was being shown at a neighbourhood watch program regarding its effectiveness. They indicated a new film would be welcome, and we were then asked if we could do better. We rose to the occasion by producing the film “YOUR HOME IS YOUR CASTLE”. About a year later we introduced this movie to the MOSLER ANTI CRIME BUREAU. TAOL had been brought in to do a full day seminar for Police across Ontario. To our surprise, Police departments from other Provinces enjoyed this free day of sharing information (total attendance was 178).

We announced the beginning of THE ACADEMY OF LOCKSMITHING in 1985. Shortly after, and with many hours of preparation, the Academy was given the OK by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to begin teaching. It was then registered as a private vocational school. Our first certificate of registration was granted in 1986. Ownership of the Academy is held by TAOL and it’s members. Our certification is a crowning achievement for a handful of volunteers. I might add that other schools providing locksmithing courses have come and gone, but we are here to stay for a long time to come. In October 1989, TAOL and THE ACADEMY moved to our current premises. This was in part due to the demand for larger training facilities and more hands-on classes. TAOL was also expanding it’s member services. TAOL business, classroom and hands-on facilities are now all separate, allowing us to be far more efficient.

Since 1973 TAOL has put on an annual convention. This convention is not open to the general public, but is open to those in locksmithing, security, manufacturing, supply and distribution of locks and lock products. New products, free seminars, and 2 full days of classes are the highlights of this event. On the 3rd and final day we close with a full day of exhibits. We have been slowly growing and expanding.

Many things have happened in the locksmithing industry. One of these things is the formation of an apprenticeship program in Ontario that is now operational. TAOL will teach the in-class portion of this program. Although the program is on a voluntary basis, it is a start. TAOL has spent many years seeking favourable legislation for our industry, and have on at least one occasion years ago we managed to be excluded from one bill. At that time our legislation committee wrote a piece of legislation, and personally presented it to the Solicitor General and his aide. We were told it was a fine document, but in fact it was too good. As a result of the presentation locksmiths were not included in the proposed bill. We most certainly believe there is a need for regulation of this trade.

On April 4, 1996 a Private Members Bill, AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE LICENSING OF LOCKSMITHS was introduced. This bill, BILL 40 has received 1st reading. Unfortunately much of its contents are not acceptable to or are not in the best interests of our locksmiths. We have therefore suggested our members oppose this bill. Bill 40 was set aside and never received a 2nd reading. It is very easy for some of us to think licensing is the answer to any problems we may think we have in our chosen profession, it may well be! However, other Provinces may have been a little hasty to seek or accept legislation/licensing. I am sure there are things that they wished they had looked at just a little harder or longer, as we all know hindsight is a wonderful thing. I have spoken to a long time friend in another province who is one of the people responsible for legislation/licensing. His comment to me was “It is not what we thought it would be”. What we all fail to realize is once you have it, it’s difficult to change.

In November 1996 TAOL began to make some serious changes, particularly in our attitude. We have put together a few aggressive people who are working very hard to bring this industry together. We are currently always involved in bringing our annual convention to the locksmiths and security people in Ontario. The co-operation we have received has been wonderful.

If the government expects the support of TAOL then there must be some changes. IT MUST BE FAVOURABLE TO THE LOCKSMITHS OF ONTARIO. Please keep us in mind as our numbers grow, so does our voice as a group. There is strength in numbers. Our goals are yours. Promote your Association. Help keep us strong.

In the new millennium we are continuing the Association’s mandate of furthering the locksmiths education needs……with factory certification classes. We are also making renewed inroads into promoting our members to the public. We have for a few years a presence at the International Home and Garden show with a manned booth.

As you can see, TAOL has spent many years working on what we believe in. when you take into consideration that membership is in excess of 300 our accomplishments have been remarkable. We have a duly elected President, Vice President, Trustees, and a Board of Directors to represent our members. Any locksmith or security related person anywhere is welcome to join our Association.

FRIENDSHIP, ETHICS, EDUCATION and PARTICIPATION are what we are all about, our members can attest to this.

Please join us!

The Board of Directors, Trustees,
and members of the TAOL