The House of Commons Committee on Human Resources Department and the Status of Persons with Disabilities recently invited CARS to make a brief presentation and participate in discussions regarding training, apprenticeship and mobility issues.
CARS discussed the potential barriers for young people entering the industry and the challenges experienced by those who work in the industry over a number of years. The importance of offering tax relief to journeymen, not only apprentices, was emphasized during the presentation, “When we’re talking about recruitment and retention of workers in our industry, there is one issue that keeps coming to the surface, that technicians are not able currently to write off the cost of tools from their income tax. This is an issue that affects recruitment, in that young people have to purchase a set of tools to work in the industry and that costs approximately $4,000. But, it’s not a one-time cost. As they become a journeyperson and work throughout their career, tools they will need to diagnose and repair current technology cost tens of thousands of dollars, and it’s a real impediment for people to stay in the industry. So, CARS continues to support industry’s efforts to achieve tax relief for both the apprentice and the journeyperson’s required purchase of tools.”
CARS presented the work it has undertaken, on behalf of industry, to address the training and recruitment issues industry faces. For example, the career awareness materials that are under development will help to provide more young people with information about the various careers in the industry and the education and on-going training needed. The materials will also provide educators, parents and students accurate, up-to-date information to improve the public’s perceptions about the industry.
Interactive Distance Learning has provided a cost-effective means for employers to provide training to their employees, regardless of location. Equipment donations to training institutions, the accreditation and mentor/coach program work to support a healthy training culture in the industry.
All of these initiatives have been undertaken to improve access to training and to support those who are working in the industry. Bill Burkimsher, Past Chair of the CARS Council Board and Executive Director of the Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario, echoes the need for both industry and government to work together when addressing the need for a skilled workforce, “Industry certainly needs to hold up it’s end by supporting employees with training opportunities. However, it is an absolute necessity for employees to purchase tools and equipment over their career. These investments are a requirement of employment and they need to be supported by government through tax relief. I understand that we need to attract more young people to the industry, and perhaps some tax relief to the apprentice will encourage this, however, it’s only fair that the journeyperson be given the same respect.”
The federal government, CARS has been informed, is developing a tax relief proposal for apprentices in an effort to encourage more youth into our trade. It has been reported that this proposal will become policy in the fall of 2001. If this does happen, it should prove to be a start to removing barriers to youth employment in our industry; however, industry needs to continue to encourage government to address the bigger issue – tax relief for journeyperson’s tool costs across Canada. CARS will continue to lobby for tool tax relief for our industry journeypersons.