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March 12th, 2021

NDP tables Bill on tax fairness and improved labour mobility for tradespersons

OTTAWA – Today, with the backing of the building and construction unionist community in Canada, New Democrat MP Scott Duvall (Hamilton Mountain) tabled Bill C-275 in the House of Commons whose measures will serve to both improve the labour mobility of tradespersons as well as provide them with tax fairness.

Presently the tax code allows for workers to claim expenses incurred due to travel required for their job not reimbursed by the employer as a tax deduction, but a 2011 CRA tax interpretation ruled that building and construction workers that work on job sites are disallowed from availing.

“Skilled tradespersons need to have an economically sustainable way of accessing work opportunities. I am pleased that we are once again putting forward a solution to this problem,” said Duvall. “Allowing those in the building and construction trades access to a tax deduction for travel required to keep or secure new work will not only help them get more work and avoid having to rely on social programs like Employment Insurance, it will also facilitate employers’ access to an effectively larger pool of skilled workers.”

“Canada needs a Skilled Trades Workforce Mobility program incorporated into our tax system. Salespeople, professionals and others in the construction and maintenance industries can deduct from income the cost of their travel, meals and accommodations, while the same option is denied to skilled workers. This is an unfair tax consequence.” said Sean Strickland, Executive Director, Canada’s Building Trades Unions. “Today, we were proud to stand with Member of Parliament, Scott Duvall, for fairness for Canadian skilled trades workers. Passage of this Bill will allow construction workers to travel to where the work is, increasing job opportunities and meeting labour market demands – putting Canadians to work.”

This legislation, with its the origins in Hamilton, Ontario, represents an initiative by trade unionists and their lobbying efforts of more than four decades to get fairness for their members. New Democrats, having tabled a version of this bill in seven previous sessions of Parliament, have today renewed their commitment to legislating this fix. During the 41st Parliament, this legislation was debated and came to a vote where all members present in the NDP, Liberal, Bloc, Green Caucus voted in support, leaving only the governing Conservatives holding out on those who literally built our country.

“Given the unlikelihood my Bill will make it to a vote in this session of Parliament, I am calling on Liberals to once again support these measures by quickly introducing it as a government Bill,” said Duvall). “I look forward to hearing from our current Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, who voted for the 2011 version of this bill, on how we can swiftly make this fix a reality for the hard-working folks in the building and construction trades”

Costing of this bill shows a net savings for government.