By Heidi Filici
How about handing over $84 million in tax to the Ontario College of Trades? This fairly new bureaucracy states, “Our goal is to encourage more men and women to work in trades and give the industry a greater role in governance, certification and training.” They sure have a funny way of showing it.
The Ontario Construction Employers Coalition employs over 80,000 people across the province. As far as they’re concerned, the Ontario College of Trades has yet to demonstrate any contributions they might have made to the industry since their establishment in 2009.
“Ontario has struggled for years to attract people to the skilled trades. The College bureaucracy will only make it a lot harder to work in the trades in Ontario. This $84 million trades tax is a job killer and the reality is many people now in the trades will be forced to look for other work,” says Karen Renkema, co-chair of the Ontario Construction Employers Coalition.
The College is looking to impose an annual membership fee on all Ontarian tradespeople, many who already pay for licenses and countless additional fees to the government. The fee ranges are up for discussion until June 3rd, 2012. “We’re urging not only trades, but all Ontarians to contact their MPP and tell him or her that this tax must be scrapped; and the Ontario College of Trades, shut down. If not, we’ll see rising costs for construction projects right across the province. And those costs will be passed on to every Ontarian,” says Renkema.
She continues, “This isn’t just a tax on trades. It affects the public. Anyone hiring an electrician, a plumber, a painter… will pay more. It’s a major tax bite and everyone in Ontario will feel it.”
So then what are the benefits of this tax? “This is millions of additional dollars being extracted from tradespeople to support a new government bureaucracy with no benefit to either Ontario tradespeople or our provincial economy.”
The McGuinty government sure has some explaining to do.
Heidi Filici is a freelance writer based in Toronto and a part-time contributor to Canadian Contractor. firstname.lastname@example.org