Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called Canada’s looming skilled-trades shortage an “urgent” problem.
But a well-respected economist, Don Drummond, received a fair bit of publicity in an article in the Toronto Star last week, when he said that this whole “skilled trades crisis” thing is a mirage.
Time for a little bit of editorializing.
Contractors across Canada were just hammered by horrible government policies, mostly tax-grabs and stupid regulations, during the recent recession. Most of these policies have been jet fuel to the under-the-table renovators who can do the work for up to 40 per cent less than legit, fees-paying, properly licensed and insured professionals. When governments of all stripes hand out billions of dollars to their corporate and/or unionized friends, the homebuilding and renovation industries get nothing (and ask for nothing) and the first serious initiative in years to increase publicly-funded training of our next generation of framers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, bricklayers, tile setters, etc. is now being described, in effect, by an egghead (sorry, nothing personal) in an ivory tower as unnecessary.
Perhaps Canada needs a few less economists on public payrolls and a few more programs to help boost our industry. Instead of hammering it with extra fees and insane regulations.