Implement a Skilled Trades Mobility Program
Canada needs a Skilled Trades Workforce Mobility Program incorporated into our tax system. Salespeople, professionals and others in the construction and maintenance industries can deduct from income the cost of their travel, meals, accommodations, while the same option is denied to skilled workers. This is an unfair tax consequence. A Skilled Trades Workforce Mobility Program could operate as a tax deduction, tax credit, grant from within the Employment Insurance system or in some other way. Regardless, the skilled trades workforce deserves to be treated equitably on this front.
“Many projects in Ontario are being postponed or cancelled as contractors are finding it difficult attracting skilled trades workers to travel a significant distance to their projects, all while qualified Canadian tradespeople are unemployed. Currently, there is an inequity in the Income Tax Act between a salesperson and a construction worker. It’s time that we change that and get our people back to work!”states Patrick Dillon, Business Manager and Secretary Treasurer of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario.
Invest in Energy Infrastructure
Canada’s Building Trades Unions has long been advocates for energy infrastructure to put Canadians – from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador – to work. When compared to other ways to move energy, pipeline transportation produced between 61 and 77 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than rail, according to a study out of University of Alberta. It is orders of magnitude safe! The study found that when moving large amounts of bitumen, a long distance, pipelines offer significantly less greenhouse gas emissions. Building a national energy corridor, including pipelines, is vital to getting our resources to markets.
“Projects such as Trans Mountain pipeline, LNG Canada, Energy East, and others are critical to the Canadian economy. These construction projects mean high paying skilled trades jobs and, in some cases, they mean new nation-building projects that will generate important benefits across the country,”says Terry Parker, Executive Director of Building Trades of Alberta.
Apply Community Benefits Agreements in Public Infrastructure Projects
Community Benefits Agreements, or CBAs, can secure work, skills training and fair wages to qualified local residents and groups who are traditionally underrepresented in the skilled trades sector, such as apprentices, Indigenous workers and women. With predetermined wages, training and worker ratios, CBAs can also ensure projects are completed on time and on budget; there is greater accountability and transparency. For the economy to prosper and benefit Canadians and its communities, it is vital that we invest in all Canadians. Community Benefit Agreements accomplish this goal.
“Preference for hiring should be given to qualified local workers first, at a salary that allows them to support their families and invest in their own community. Hiring locally also means the investment in infrastructure stays in the community, which provides a community benefit to the local economy and revitalizes job creation. Local workers are proud to build their own community,”says Tom Sigurdson, Executive Director of British Columbia Building Trades.
Support for Apprenticeship
With the opportunity to learn from the construction industry’s most highly trained instructors in a safe environment, apprentices graduate with a portable, recognized credential affording them good pay and benefits to support themselves and their families. The continuous training and skills upgrading educational opportunities, meanwhile, serve to address the evolving concerns of businesses and industry for the development of a quality skilled craft workforce that meets their needs. A healthy and viable union construction apprenticeship and training system is also a proven avenue to restore the Canadian Middle Class and bring dignity and security back to the workplace. Supporting apprenticeship is a cornerstone in growing a skilled workforce in the construction trades.
“By investing in talent development through apprenticeship and development, employers gain a pipeline of loyal skilled workers, increase productivity, and improve the bottom line. Supporting apprenticeship is an investment for our future,”says Michel Trépanier, President of the Quebec Building Trades Council.
Review Bill C-69
The Senate of Canada is currently debating Bill C-69. In its current form, the Bill will diminish the global competitiveness of Canada’s oil and natural gas industry and be a significant barrier to future investment, putting Canadian jobs at risk. It will make an already complex system more complicated, with added uncertainty for the project review and Environmental Assessment processes. Project reviews that are subject to multiple appeals and litigation have become the norm, this creates uncertainty and is unacceptable. The Canadian government needs to pause and review Bill C-69 to get it right before passing it into legislation.
“It’s important the Government of Canada gets Bill C-69 right the first time – we can’t afford to get this wrong. Creating unnecessary barriers to investment isn’t good for anyone,”says Darin King, Executive Director of The Building Trades of Newfoundland and Labrador.