Reaction to the federal budget from big construction union, Ontario
The budget "still does not tackle equitable taxation policy," says the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario
By Steve Payne
Editor’s Note: The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario put out this press release this morning. This organization is an umbrella group representing a number of powerful construction unions, many of them in heavy construction and infrastructure. But they also represent many residential construction unions.
Morneau on right track with budget, but more needs to be done: Dillon
TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – March 24, 2017) – “Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s second budget addressees the changing economy, but does not deal with a number of issues that working Canadians are facing,” said Patrick Dillon, Business Manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario (PBCTO). “The federal government is correct in recognizing that Canadians need to upgrade their skills and transition into new jobs as technology and innovation change the traditional workplace.”
“The Building Trades have been at the forefront of providing skilled trades training through our various training centres across Ontario,” Dillon noted. “We are proud that our apprenticeship completion and retention rates are highest in the province, putting workers on track to join the middle class with well paying jobs and benefits.”
PBCTCO members have been leaders in developing various programs that address gender equality; transitioning armed forces personnel to careers in the trades through Helmets to Hardhats Canada; working with Indigenous people to provide training and work opportunities in construction; and with vulnerable youth through programs like Hammerheads and the Carpenters’ CHOICE Program.
“Morneau’s budget still does not tackle equitable taxation policy,” said Dillon. “We need a progressive and fair tax system that provides the government with the revenue necessary to provide the programs that Canadians rely on.”
Dillon went on to say, “We have raised the issue of fairness for tradespeople with successive governments. Current tax rules do not allow deductions for travel when a construction tradesperson works away from home. However, a construction salesperson going to the same jobsite as the construction worker is allowed to write off his or her travel, accommodation and food expenses. We find this to be unfair and discriminatory to the construction worker who is actually building Canada. Hopefully, the finance minister and government will give this some consideration when they provide their Fall Economic Statement.”
“The federal government is finally starting to deal with a perennial concern of ours, the underground economy,” said Dillon. “The underground economy is costing Canadians billions annually and takes work away from legitimate contractors and their workers. It also is part of the underfunding of our health care and education systems. I commend the Minister for his efforts but more needs to be done on this front.”
The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario represents 150,000 trades workers throughout the province.