The event provided an opportunity for industry and government representatives to meet and to promote further discussion about the issues impacting our industry, such as the tool tax issue. The turnout was impressive! Several Members of Parliament were in attendance, including Industry Minister, Brian Tobin and the Leader of the Opposition, Stockwell Day.
Industry representatives met with The Honourable Jane Stewart, Minister of Human Resources Development Canada, to discuss various issues impacting the industry workforce. CARS, in partnership with HRDC, has been able to develop and implement several strategies to provide industry employees with quality, cost-effective training opportunities over the past several years. This partnership between government and industry has proven successful. However, it will be even more important in the future to continue this successful partnership to ensure that industry has a healthy training culture and improved conditions for industry employment.
Dan Bell, CARS President, emphasized the importance of finding a solution to the tool tax issue that would provide tax relief to those working in the industry and that would complement the government’s fiscal and skills agendas. The “Bridging the Gaps” study indicated that nearly 50% of the workforce is over the age of 40 and only 7.5% are under the age of 25. Although efforts to promote and attract more young people to the industry are being pursued, Bell underlined the importance of providing more support for technician’s required tool investment to help keep them in the industry, “CARS is working on several initiatives to help ensure there is a skilled and capable future workforce. However, the fact that technicians are investing about 15% of their net income in tools per year for the first four years makes it hard to attract and retain young people. It is important that industry and government work together to find a mutually beneficial solution”.
As a result of Industry Day, meetings have taken place and more are scheduled to discuss viable options that will help the industry workforce. Stay tuned to the “CARS Insider” for future updates on the discussions.