The Stop the Trades Tax campaign has received three new political pledges in its province-wide tour asking current MPPs and all candidates in the next election to sign a pledge against the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT).
Garfield Dunlop, Progressive Conservative critic for skilled trades and apprenticeship reform, was the first MPP to sign the pledge, followed by PC candidates Paula Peroni and Marck Blay.
“The McGuinty government is calling this trades tax a ‘membership fee’ for the so-called ‘College of Trades’. The reality is they plan to use the Trades Tax to build another layer of government bureaucracy that no one needs or wants,” said Dunlop in a news release.
OCOT introduced membership fees in November, which will range from $60 to $120 annually. Proponents say the fees will help create value added services for members.
The Stop The Trades Tax campaign, launched by the Ontario Construction Employers Coalition, is calling for the complete overhaul or abolition of OCOT.
The college is expected to begin accepting membership on April 8. Those in compulsory trades will have to become members of the college and a worker in a voluntary trade will have to be an OCOT member to keep his or her Certificate of Qualification current.
OCOT was legislated in 2009 and will represent 157 skilled trades in the construction, motive power, industrial and service sectors.
“The Trades Tax is a bad idea that will cost tradespeople and businesses millions of dollars,” said Stop The Trades Tax campaign chair Sean Reid.
“We believe fair-minded MPPs and candidates across the political spectrum will be willing to stand with Ontario tradespeople and commit to killing this tax.”
Campaign members hope to address their concerns with Premier-designate Kathleen Wynne.
“With a new Liberal leader and premier, comes the opportunity to reverse bad policy, and work together to build Ontario’s economy. Supporting tradespeople and employers by stopping the Trades Tax is an important first step,” said Reid.
The Stop The Trades Tax campaign was launched in 2011 and has grown to 31 organizations whose members represent more than 8,000 small, medium and large Ontario businesses and 130,000 skilled tradespeople across the province.
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DCN NEWS SERVICES