Canadian Contractor

Steve Payne   

"What happened to the government sting operation in Alberta?"

Canadian Contractor

One year ago, the Alberta government set up a pair of entrapment houses - one in Calgary and one in Edmonton - to lure contractors onto the premises to try to get them to agree to do illegal work. Seven of 24 contractors who visited the houses were charged.

Robert Sloan, Toronto-area electrical contractor, posted this:

“What happened to the government sting operation in Alberta.. .does anyone know? I’m not sure it “Scared Straight” too many people, but it can’t hurt. I am front line in a couple homes most days for over 20 years now. When we had the GST rebate no one even asked, because most people want to do things on the up and up. However most people also have a tax threshold. I truly believe that for a very high percentage of people it is between 5% and 10%. Any more and it is perceived as government gouging. I’ll never understand why contractors co-operate with tax cheating homeowners. They are usually paying the HST on the material anyway, and rarely benefit at all, yet expose themselves to all kinds of additional peril.”

Editor’s Reply. Thanks Robert for the reminder to check up on the outcome of that famous sting operation. Yes, it’s almost exactly a year ago that Alberta government set up “sting operation” houses in Calgary and Edmonton, having enforcement personnel from their consumer protection agency pose as homeowners to lure contractors onto the premises to nab them for attempting to work without the requisite licenses (in most cases, “prepaid contractor licenses” as required in the province). Twenty-four contractors took the bait. Seven were charged. We’ll see if we can find out what happened in court. – Steve



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