I’m sure some of you have spotted them up on roofs or ladders, installing shingles or doing other renovation work on their days off. Increasingly, this is a hobby or a side business for many firefighters. Sometimes there’s a whole crew working together, with shinny vehicles sporting fire hall symbols on license plates or stuck elsewhere on their vehicles.
Yes, it’s a free world and competition is good, but are these firefighters working under the same set of rules and regulation the rest of us mere mortals? Legitimate renovation business owners have to contend with increasingly burdensome government regulations, be it mandatory WSIB on everyone in Ontario, including the self-employed (who used to be exempt), or be it the new Ontario College of Trades with their mandatory fees levied against certain trades.
So the question is: are these firefighters paying WSIB? Do they carry liability insurance to protect homeowners? Are they compliant under the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) and more? Are they, in fact, part of the growing underground market spurred on by, in addition to the above, double digit sales taxes?
For firefighters, what if we legitimate contractors were to make it a level playing field by starting our own fire services as a sideline? Get to those fires first and take away their income! What? Legislation wouldn’t allow this and we’d be arrested? I heard an old saying the other day which said: What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Let us know your thoughts on firefighters in construction – or anything else affecting your livelihood.