BCTD responds to Federal Budget

    OTTAWA, Jan. 28 /CNW/ - We are encouraged by the infrastructure plan laid
out by the government in the 2009 Federal Budget. This investment in Canada's
economy will be welcome to the construction industry and all of the trickle
down economies closely related.
    During the next 12-16 months Canada's economic strength will be tested
and we support the bolstering of the Employment Insurance program through the
Canadian Skills and Transition strategy. Workers who lose their jobs will be
better served by 50 weeks of EI versus the 45 weeks previously provided. The
$500 million the Federal Government has allocated to the EI program will
assist Canadians in longer term training programs, aimed specifically at
construction trades.
    The Government has reaffirmed support in this budget and enabled monies
directed at Canadians currently enrolled in Red Seal apprenticeships through
the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant completion bonus. This is an important step
to ensure our training system is strong and continues to deliver top quality
talent to jobsites nationwide.
    For our industrial partners, we were pleased to see an extension of the
Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) for acquisition of major equipment. This will
assist with job costing in construction and maintenance facilities.
    Extension of the Wage Earner Protection Plan to cover severance and
termination pay ought to assist those affected the most by the downturn.
    We would like to see more details regarding strategic planning over the
next number of months for the economy in Canada - the approach taken in the
Budget is largely a piecemeal approach and not part of a larger strategy for
our economy and industry. Specifically, a national workforce strategy is
required to address skilled labour shortages across Canada.
    No particular budget, especially a deficit budget, can address each and
every problem area faced by Canadians; we believe, at least, that the current
federal government is attempting to take a balanced approach to the
circumstances it faces. There are a significant number of "other" things we
would like to see in an economic plan and we intend to convey this information
to government as the situation develops.

    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 and manufacturing
industries. It has 386 state, provincial and local councils in Canada and the
United States. In Canada, the BCTD represents 400,000 skilled trades workers.

For further information:

For further information: Christopher Smillie, Government and Regulatory
Affairs, Office: (613) 236-0653, Cell: (613) 219-1867,

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