Federal Budget Hits Mark on Promoting Jobs and Growth Says Merit Canada

Applauds promotion of skilled trades and infrastructure funding

OTTAWA, March 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Merit Canada applauded several initiatives announced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty today as part of the 2013 Federal Budget.

"We welcome the government's emphasis on the promotion of skilled trades, and their commitment to addressing the troubling gap in our economy's labour force needs" said Terrance Oakey, President of Merit Canada. "As the centrepiece of today's budget, initiatives like the Canada Job Grant respond to the needs of both employers and employees alike and will help Canada's economy grow by ensuring Canadians have the appropriate skills to fill a growing number of trade positions," continued Oakey.

"However, the regulatory environment around apprenticeships in some provinces actually shrinks access to training opportunities. Whether it's rules around apprentice-to-journeymen ratios or compulsory trades, these rules are a hurdle to getting as many people as possible into trades training. In that light, we are especially pleased to see the federal government's commitment to work with the provinces to harmonize regulatory requirements," stated Oakey.

According the Construction Sector Council, there will be a shortage of over 300,000 skilled tradespeople in Canada by end of the decade.

Merit also welcomes the Building Canada Plan infrastructure commitments contained in the budget, in the amount of $53.5 billion over ten years. "While we recognize that this amount may fall short of the demands made by some stakeholders, we would have much more sympathy for provinces and municipalities if they eliminated closed tendering practices which exclude non-unionized workers from undertaking work. These practices deny taxpayers better value for their money, and getting rid of them would allow infrastructure funding to go that much further," said Oakey.

"Merit favours an open tendering approach for all publicly-funded projects.  We believe that all Canadians, regardless if they are members of a union or not, should have the right to work on projects funded by their tax dollars," said Oakey.

Merit Canada is the national voice of Canada's eight provincial Open Shop construction associations. Open Shop companies and workers build more than 70% of the industrial, commercial/institutional, and residential construction projects coast-to-coast-to-coast. As of June 2011, the Canadian construction sector employed 1.26 million Canadians with 900,000 working in the "open shop" sector.

SOURCE: Merit Canada

For further information:

Terrance Oakey
President, Merit Canada
terrance.oakey@meritcanada.ca
(613) 601-2350

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Merit Canada

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