I was watching the recent video interview with Jeff Koller, industry compliance officer for OCFIA (Ontario Construction Finishing Industries Alliance), an organization set up four years ago to represent legitimate employers and employees concerned about the underground market. In this video, Koller talks about his support for the Ontario College of Trades. He talks about how this new bureaucracy, up and running since the beginning of this year, will allow you to say that you are not a “fly by night” contractor with “magnetic signs” on your truck.
“Legitimate employers are often unionized,” Koller says (at 0:44) “but this is not a union or non-union thing. It’s simply a right or wrong thing… They [legitimate employers] have payroll costs…”
So it seems, according to Koller, that if you run a small size self-employed home renovation business, like a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a one-person incorporated business, with no employees and you don’t pay deductions on yourself like EI (only voluntary for business owners) and more, you are not a legitimate company? Wow!
So if the market was not tough enough, with the HST, mandatory WSIB premiums pushed down your throat, mandatory fees from the Ontario College of Trades, etc., you are somehow less “legitimate” in this business?
Are you a fly by night contractor? You are, according to the vision put forth by the Ontario College of Trades, if you don’t join them (if you’re a mandatory trade). And what about this idea that “illegitimate” contractors advvertise themselves with magnetic signs? Really? Seriously?
There are tens of thousands of legitimate contractors out there. CARAHS represents many of these fine, upstanding, self-employed home renovation contractor. We have one member who has been in business since 1974, who pays all his WSIB, who pays all his fees, and he’s mad as hell about the Ontario College of Trades… and for good reason.
I guess the question is, does the College of Trades, does Jeff Koller, want everyone unionized?
I believe we all need to stand up for self-employed renovators’ rights and challenge those bureaucrats who don’t have a clue what it’s like to be out there on the tools, working alone, or with a crew of two or three guys, trying to make a living. . Most of these organizations (the WSIB, the College of Trades, espcially) have employees that are as secure as you can be in any job. They have great benefits, sick days, paid holidays and all the rest. All I ask is for them to walk a mile in the shoes of our industry’s self-employed home renovation contractors, please.
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