A Labour Mobility Deduction for tradespeople, doubling the Union Training and Innovation Program and bringing workers to the decision-making table were just some of the initiatives outlined in the federal government’s 2022 budget tabled today (April 7).
The budget, A Plan to Grow Our Economy and Make Life More Affordable, was introduced by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.
The welcome news for many in the industry is the long advocated for Labour Mobility Deduction, which would provide tax recognition on up to $4,000 per year in eligible travel and temporary relocation expenses for tradespeople and apprentices who travel, often to rural and remote communities, for work. The measure would apply to the 2022 and subsequent taxation years.
The budget also proposes to provide $84.2 million over four years to double funding for the Union Training and Innovation Program, which would help 3,500 apprentices from underrepresented groups such as women, newcomers, people with disabilities, Indigenous people, and Black and racialized Canadians each year to begin careers in the skilled trades through mentorship, career services and job-matching.
Since 2017, the program has supported union-based apprenticeship training in the Red Seal trades, including through investments in training, equipment, and materials, as well as in support for innovative approaches to address barriers facing apprentices, indicates the budget.
A greater emphasis will also be put on bringing workers to the decision-making table. The budget proposes to provide $2.5 million in 2022-23 for Employment and Social Development Canada to launch a new union-led advisory table that brings together unions and trade associations.
The table will advise the government on priority investments to help workers navigate the changing labour market, with a particular focus on skilled, mid-career workers in at-risk sectors and jobs, indicates the budget, adding further details will be announced in the coming weeks.
The results will be used to inform future actions and investments.
The budget proposes to grow the workforce by addressing barriers faced by mothers, Black and racialized Canadians, newcomers, people with disabilities, young Canadians and other people who are underrepresented in Canada’s workforce. This will include improving labour mobility and foreign credential recognition and creating opportunities for people with disabilities.
Training and retraining
The budget proposes to build on past investments, work with provincial and territorial partners on improving how skills training is provided, to launch intensive engagement with labour groups on how Canada can better support skilled workers as they navigate a changing economy, and support union-led apprenticeship training for those who are underrepresented in the trades.
It also includes plans to modernize and renew Labour Market Transfer Agreements, working with provinces and territories.
The budget proposes to amend Part II of the Employment Insurance Act to ensure more workers are eligible for help before they become unemployed, and that employers can receive direct support to re-train their workers.
The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program
Budget 2022 proposes a number of measures to increase protections for workers, to reduce administrative burdens for trusted repeat employers and to ensure employers can quickly bring in workers to fill short-term labour market gaps. These include:
- $29.3 million over three years to introduce a Trusted Employer Model that reduces red tape for repeat employers who meet the highest standards for working and living conditions, protections and wages in high-demand fields. Further details on this program will be announced in the coming year.
- $64.6 million over three years to increase capacity to process employer applications within established service standards.
- $14.6 million in 2022-23, with $3 million in remaining amortization, to make improvements to the quality of employer inspections and hold employers accountable for the treatment of workers.
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