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Feature   November 1, 2005   by CARS Magazine

Conservatives Announce Skilled Trades Policy

Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper visited Ancaster, Ontario's Glendale Motors to announce his party's vision to address the skilled trades shortage. Harper stated:...

Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper visited Ancaster, Ontario’s Glendale Motors to announce his party’s vision to address the skilled trades shortage. Harper stated:

“Canada is desperately short of skilled tradespeople. As many as 20,000 skilled trades positions go unfilled today. That number is expected to rise to 50,000 by the end of the decade. The trades shortage hurts our economy and drives up the cost of doing business in Canada. Half of small business owners surveyed by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business say the shortage of skilled labour is one of their biggest challenges. Yet, all too often young people get the idea that a career in the trades isn’t valued, or that everyone has to go to university. This has got to change. Over the past decade, the federal Liberals have used all the right buzzwords about the “skills economy” and productivity. They commission studies and run advertisements at movie theatres. But they have done next to nothing to deliver real help to people who just want to get ahead in a career. On Oct. 13th, 2005, I announced three things a Conservative government will do to stand up for the trades:

* A $1,000 “Apprentice Incentive Grant” to help new apprentices cover the high costs of tools, boots and work accessories;

* An “Apprentice Job Creation Tax Credit” to encourage employers to take on apprentices, and;

* A “Tools Tax Deduction” of up to $500 for investing in tools.

The $1,000 Apprentice Incentive Grant will help new apprentices with the costs of getting started with tools, travel, tuition and other costs. Tools can be a huge expense – from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the trade concerned. Even a good pair of boots can run upwards of hundreds of dollars. This grant will be available to new apprentices in the first two years of an apprenticeship in any of the 45 Red Seal trades – trades for which there are agreed interprovincial standards – and other trades that are strategic to Canada’s economic growth. Encouraging young Canadians to enter the trades is one half of the equation. We will also encourage employers to take on new apprentices by introducing an Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit worth 10 per cent of the first $20,000 of a new apprentice’s wages for the first two years of their employment. Both the grant for new apprentices and the tax credit for employers will help bring more young workers into the skilled trades. We will also recognize the skilled, qualified people already working in the trades by ending the unfair tax treatment of tools and equipment. In many trades, workers are expected to buy their own specialized tools and take their expensive toolkits with them from job to job. We will introduce a new Tools Tax Deduction for all people who need to purchase tools as a condition of employment. Self-employed people and businesses who claim tools as a business expense will see the small tools deduction level increase from $200 to $500, while apprentice and journeyman tradespeople who are employed by others and are not currently able to claim work-related expenses will be able to claim this deduction as well. For tools costing more than $500, both employed and self-employed will be able to claim the Capital Cost Allowance for those tools. These three measures will go a long way to giving the trades the recognition they deserve as a vital part of our economic future. It’s time to stop just talking about the skilled labour shortage in Canada, and start acting. Let’s stand up for Canada by standing up for the trades.”

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