Press release 20 February 2019, CBTU CALLS ON FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO INTRODUCE TAX INCENTIVES TO INCREASE LABOUR MOBILITY, ADDRESS SKILLS SHORTAGE
– Inclusion of Community Benefit Agreements in public infrastructure projects one way to address skills shortage, benefit all Canadians
Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) are calling on the Federal Government to ensure their budget reflects the needs of the half a million skilled trades workers and their families from across Canada.
“Canada’s Building Trades Unions are committed to working with the Federal Government and have addressed five priority issues for their upcoming budget,” said Robert Blakely, Canadian Operating Office, Canada’s Building Trades Unions. “CBTU’s members build, maintain and renovate infrastructure across Canada. There are areas where we can work with the Government to increase opportunities for Canadians, including underrepresented workers, to enter and work in the skilled trades. These workers deserve fair and equitable treatment to other professionals, including a form of tax incentive for travel because of the cyclical nature of work in the construction industry.”
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.
Tax Incentives for Investments
Canada’s Building Trades Unions supports initiatives that create private sector investments throughout the country, especially in the manufacturing and energy sectors. To encourage capital investment, the Federal Government can allow manufacturing and processing companies to write off the full cost of buying new equipment and machinery as soon as they put the purchases to use.
Investments in People
Canada’s Building Trades Unions recognize that industry needs to recruit and train new workers and that is why we prioritize our Build Together Workforce Development initiative within our organization, where we focus on underrepresented groups of the population. Last year’s federal budget was further proof that the Federal Government agrees with the CBTU’s leadership on this issue. We commend the Federal Government’s work on things like the Union Training and Innovation Program and the five-year pilot Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women and encourage the Federal Government to further build on these programs. We would also recommend introducing similar investments towards projects that includes Community Benefit Agreements. Community Benefit Agreements include engaging local people, apprentices, Indigenous people, women, and underrepresented groups. For the economy to prosper and benefit Canadians and its communities, it is vital that we invest in all Canadians. Community Benefit Agreements accomplishes this goal.
Making Pensions Work for Canadian Jobs
Canada’s Building Trades Unions affiliates carry billions of dollars in pension assets on behalf of our members and as such, are developing a capital investment strategy that will focus on investing in Canadian projects that put Canadians to work, more specifically, Canadian skilled trades workers. However, the numerous federal and provincial pension legislations limit these important activities. It is vital that the Federal Government works in collaboration with Canada’s Building Trades Unions in creating a climate that achieves our objective and harmonizes our legislative framework in Making Pensions Work for Canadian Jobs.
Affordable Drug Costs for Canadians
Canada’s Building Trades Unions support the on-going efforts of the Federal Government in pursuing a National Pharmacare Program. Major steps were taken in last year’s budget and we can only expect further steps to be taken this year again. Rising drug costs are creating dire situations for many families across Canada and we all support the efforts of the Canadian Government to bring this under control. A National Pharmacare Program is a priority for Canadians and it is a priority for the members we represent.