OTTAWA, Nov. 12, 2013 /CNW/ - On Thursday, October 31, Parliament opened
an important debate on Bill C-201, which proposes a tax credit that
would help construction workers cover their travel costs when
relocating temporarily to take on short-term construction jobs.
Leaders of Canada's construction industry and labour organizations
support the proposed construction mobility tax credit. They believe the
legislation will create new opportunities for under-employed Canadian
tradespeople and help to keep them working.
In an open letter published in The Globe and Mail, the National Post and the Hill Times, they made a clear case for the tax credit, outlining the human
resources challenges facing the industry and how the credit could help
The industry is facing skills shortages due to a large cohort of its
skilled workforce aging into retirement, a fragmented training system
producing uneven results, and not enough new recruits to make up the
shortfall. To meet the projected economic demand, more than 250,000 new
workers will be needed by the end of the decade.
Current Government of Canada initiatives, while welcome, are unlikely to
meet the need for construction workers or grow the workforce in a
tangible way. The resource and major institutional construction sectors
in some regions are already experiencing skilled labour shortages. This
situation is expected to worsen.
Resource projects are often located in remote areas with small
populations. They rely on skilled workers willing to relocate to
distant sites for short terms. Travel and temporary costs are $3,500 on
average, which is prohibitive for many tradespeople.
Existing tax exemptions related to remote work sites apply only to those
workers who are provided lodging at these sites directly. There is no
similar provision for the majority of construction workers who travel
to obtain work. For example, a worker from New Brunswick who moves
temporarily to Ontario to work at a large construction site gets no
consideration under the tax system—the individual must bear the cost
burden of travel and lodging if not provided by the employer. This
needs to change.
As well as its clear benefits to Canadian workers and industry, a
construction mobility tax credit would benefit the Government of Canada
through increased long-term income tax revenues and reduced dependence
on costly social programs. Initial studies have shown that the credit
could yield a return on investment of nearly 5 to 1.
"This initiative would alleviate dependence on expensive temporary HR
solutions by encouraging Canadians to go where the work is—even if it
is for a relatively short, finite period of time," said Robert Blakely,
Chief Operating Officer of Canada's Building Trades Unions. "The credit
would go a long way toward meeting a challenge our entire industry is
The open letter is signed by:
Robert Blakely, Chief Operating Officer, Canada's Building Trades Unions
Michael Atkinson, President, Canadian Construction Association
Neil Tidsbury, President, Construction Labour Relations-Alberta
For more information on the construction mobility tax credit, and to
read the letter, please visit http://www.buildingtrades.ca/Legislative-Issues/Government-Affairs-and-Public-Policy/Putting-Canadians-First.aspx.
SOURCE: Building & Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO
For further information:
Christopher Smillie, Government and Regulatory Affairs, Canada's Building Trades Unions. Office: (613) 236-0653 / Cell: 613- 620-0653 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org