Canadian Building Trades disappointed with amendments to C377 - calls the Government of Canada amendments inadequate to skilled trade members across the country - will up costs to small business and Government

OTTAWA, Dec. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Building Trades calls report stage Government amendments of Bill C-377 An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act inadequate to deal with the punitive legislation.  There is an amendment which deals with fair application of the  legislation tabled in the House at Report Stage which makes the legislation apply to all not for profits involved in labour relations and workplace advocacy.  This amendment tabled by Rodger Cuzner, Member of Parliament, Cape Breton -Canso is an attempt to make the legislation apply to all who are involved in workplace advocacy and labour relations issues.

Robert Blakely, Director of Canadian Affairs, says "the Government of Canada has a chance to make the right move on this legislation - this includes those MPs who has yet to intervene or comment on this Bill". The Bill is only applicable to unions and labour organizations - members of many other workplace advocacy organizations get the same tax benefit and yet are not required to report.   Blakely went on to say "The Government of Canada has to make a leadership choice - either to be drawn into commercial competition issues between unionized and non-unionized construction entities or enable legislation that ought to be fair balanced and equally applied."  Blakely says the Cuzner amendment does that.  "The really sad thing about this is that we ought to working in partnership with the Government of Canada on job creation and skills developments not this sort of nonsense!" he concluded.

John Telford, Canadian Director of United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA) says "why is the Bill not applicable to all not for profits? The Canada Revenue Agency indicated that it will cost more than $10 million dollars for set up costs for 1000 local unions and $2 million per year thereafter. In Canada, there are more than 25,000 labour organizations as defined under the Bill." This means in reality it will cost the Government of Canada vastly more to set up and run. Telford went on to say "I thought the Conservatives got elected on the basis of reducing red tape and bureaucracy - this clearly creates more."  

Robert Kucheran, General Vice President of IUPAT and Chairman of the Canadian Executive Board of the Canadian Building Trades says "This thing has to go. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has indicated in a letter it will cost the Government of Canada at least $2,100 per filer in his calculations. Kucheran says in the Building Trades nationally there will be more than 4,800 filers per year which in my estimates is more than $10 million per year. That is only for the Building Trades, the rest of the Labour Movement will account for tens of thousands more! Where is the leadership from the Minister of Finance? I thought Canada was in a deficit situation - these are more taxpayer dollars wasted."

Blakely went on to say that in France and the UK both union groups and employer groups whom advocate on labour relations or workplace issues all report.  Blakely says "the UK and France seem balanced in their approach. This doesn't feel balanced and the Government amendments do nothing to address the concerns raised by numerous experts. It remains to be seen if the Bill's sponsor, Russ Hiebert, Member of Parliament for South Surrey -Whiterock -Cloverdale will vote in favour of the Cuzner amendment to make the legislation more balanced or if this legislation is confirmed as an attack on the skilled trades by this Member.

About the BCTD

The North America-wide BCTD AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labour - Congress of Industrial Organizations) coordinates activities and provides resources to 15 affiliated trade unions in the construction, maintenance and fabrication industries. In Canada, the BCTD represents 500,000 skilled trades workers.

SOURCE: Building & Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO

For further information:

Christopher Smillie
Government Relations and Public Affairs
Office:  (613) 236-0653
Cell:  (613) 620-0653
csmillie@buildingtrades.ca