An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (travel and accommodation deduction for tradespersons)

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in December 2008.


Chris Charlton  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Outside the Order of Precedence (a private member's bill that hasn't yet won the draw that determines which private member's bills can be debated), as of Nov. 24, 2008
(This bill did not become law.)


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment allows tradespersons and indentured apprentices to deduct from their taxable income any travel and accommodation expenses that they have incurred in order to secure and maintain employment in a construction activity at a job site that is located at least 80 kilometres away from their ordinary place of residence.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

March 23rd, 2022 / 6:25 p.m.
See context


Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I feel the need to begin my comments by recapitulating the words of the hon. member for Essex, who shared that he would happily call himself a New Democrat to get this PMB passed, if even just for a day.

I am glad it is in the Hansard. As I shared in my question to the hon. member for Essex, the New Democratic Party has been in the Hansard on this very bill five times since 2006. I am going to take a moment to recapitulate. The first was in 2006, Bill C-390, under the always hon. Chris Charlton, and then again in 2008 as Bill C-227, introduced by the hon. Chris Charlton, and in 2013, as Bill C-201, again by Chris Charlton. When Chris Charlton retired, she handed it over to a working class hero from Hamilton, the always hon. Scott Duvall, who introduced this same bill in 2021 as Bill C-275.

I have the honour, being from Hamilton, to continue the working class values of our city and our party by introducing Bill C-222. The hon. member for Essex was in fine form, using his newly found New Democratic talking points to sell this very bill in the House. I give the hon. member for Essex the benefit of the doubt, because the hon. member for Essex was not elected in 2013 when this bill was last introduced under Bill C-201, but when it was up for vote in second reading, it was the Conservative Party with a majority that crushed this bill.

We have had 15 years of work on this bill. We have had six years where the working class people of this country could have benefited from these types of tax considerations. The hon. member is quite right when he says he wants for working class people what we have in the House as MPs when it comes to writing off some of our travel expenses. I would go one step further, and I would suggest that all MPs in the House ought to carry the same spirit by wanting for others what we ourselves have in here when it comes to dental care and pharmacare and pensions.

Here we are. The challenge we have is that the newly found New Democrat, in his New Democratic talking points, showed the disconnect that he has with the building trades because the example he gave in his answer relating to the distance, using his county of Essex, suggesting that an hour and a half travel is about 120 kilometres, tells us that he has never spoken to skilled tradespeople in southern Ontario. If he had, he would know that people from Hamilton could sit in traffic for three hours just on their way to Toronto, which is 60 kilometres away.

He is quite right that skilled tradespeople have fought for this over decades. Let us be clear. He was right when he says this is a bipartisan and non-partisan issue. This is not a win for the Conservatives who found their new working class values under their previous leader. I will remind them, though, that their previous leader from Durham, in 2014, did vote against this, as did their interim leader, as did the hon. member for Carleton. All of them voted against this. Why now?

I would put to the House that it is because the Conservative Party uses working class issues and working class people in the same way that one would use a pair of old dirty sneakers. They only bring them out when it time to cut the grass, to pretend that the grass is green on the other side, when it is clear that this bill comes up short by lengthening that distance and excluding so many people from areas like my city and Hamilton Centre.

I am going to take my time, but I am going to give credit where credit is due, which is in the organized labour of the Ontario building trades council, of the Canada's Building Trades Unions, of the Hamilton-Brantford building trades council, the people I work with, people like Pat Dillon, who for his entire career worked on this, for 20 years, and in fact was successful under their previous leader to have this implemented into darn near all the platforms.

Following in the spirit of the New Democratic Party, we saw willingness from the government side to finally give lip service to this. Why it failed to act on it until now is beyond me, but in the spirit of moving things forward to improve the material conditions of working-class people in this country, I am happy we are here. Our Parliament works better when we work together for working-class people.

To Pat Dillon, and Pat's retirement, I suspect that many members from all parties showed up to honour Pat in that moment. Let today be his victory. Let future votes on this be his victory, when hopefully we get to a place where this bill covers all the aspects that it needs to cover. Let this be the victory of Mark Ellerker, from the Hamilton-Brantford Building Trades Council, who I have had the privilege of working with since my time as a city councillor. He has always fought with the building trades, not just for organized labour but for unorganized labour too, because the notion that what is good for the manager or the salesperson in tax considerations absolutely must be a tax fairness question that is applied to all working-class people, whether it is for their travel expenses or their tools, which was a very appropriate point brought up by members on the government side. I encourage the government's side to bring these types of real considerations for working-class people into their legislation, into their throne speeches and, most importantly, into their budget.

Lastly, I want to once again thank my good friend, Stuart McLellan, from IBEW Local 105. We would have long conversations about the ability for workers to travel where they do not have to do that calculus. The truth is that not all collective agreements have within them travel expenses. The ones that do not are limited by them. They have to go out of pocket.

Let us be clear about one thing. It is not MPs, it is not entrepreneurs, it is not CEOs or big developers who create value in this country. Value in this economy is only built by working-class people. It is taken by the ultrawealthy. In this respect, when we talk about those members who are being considered in this space, and they talk about how 120 kilometres might look like an hour and a half to them, those members should sit in traffic from Hamilton to Toronto, or from Montreal to anywhere, for that matter. They should know that travel time is not just a tax expense that can be written off. It is time away from family. It is a sacrifice that has to be made as a worker in order to put food on the table and to pay the rent.

Let us get this bill right for Pat. Let us get this bill right for Mark and Stuart, and for all of the incredible working-class people across this country who truly put value in this economy and are truly building this country.

With that, to my temporary and honorary member of the New Democratic Party, I congratulate him on his private member's bill and I am happy to stand and see that be reflected in the Hansard today.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

January 30th, 2014 / 5:35 p.m.
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Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to such an important issue for tradespeople across the country.

The bill introduced by the hon. member for Hamilton Mountain would allow skilled workers to deduct from their taxable income travel and accommodation expenses. It would also allow them to maintain employment at a construction site that is more than 80 kilometres from their home.

This is a much-needed bill. Tradespeople are the engine of our economy. Construction is the biggest private sector industry in the country. It boasts 17,000 companies and employs a million Canadians. It creates more than 12% of our gross domestic product.

Skilled tradespeople include heavy equipment operators, electricians, welders, carpenters and so on. These workers are essential on construction sites. It is impossible to do the work without them.

However, the trades are facing significant challenges, including a shortage of workers and workforce mobility issues.

The Conference Board of Canada estimates that Canada will need at least a million more skilled tradespeople by 2020. In Quebec alone, more than 730,000 professional and technical jobs will open up in the coming year alone. Some of the most sought after workers include industrial mechanics, welders and industrial management supervisors.

The construction industry estimates that it will need an additional 252,000 workers.

These trades require solid math skills, creativity and technological know-how. The pay is good. Skilled professionals earn 3.1% more than the average Canadian.

However, there is a recurring issue and that is workforce mobility. I am not talking about interprovincial mobility, just regional mobility. The placement of work sites in Canada is based on need. In construction, mining and infrastructure, major work sites are often in regions that are far from major cities.

Workers who want jobs far from home have to pay for their own travel and accommodations while still paying for their permanent residences. Those costs eat up a significant portion of their earnings and are not deductible under the Income Tax Act. That makes working far from home a less attractive proposition, not to mention that these people are also away from their families.

According to the building and construction trades department of the AFL-CIO, mobile workers spend an average of $3,500 of their personal savings to relocate temporarily.

While some regions of the country are experiencing high unemployment, others are suffering from a labour shortage. The bill introduced by the member for Hamilton Mountain offers a two-fold solution to the problem. Workers working at job sites at least 80 kilometres away from home would not have to take a financial hit. This solution is needed all the more because of the Conservatives' employment insurance reform, which forces workers to accept jobs within 100 kilometres of home.

In addition, Bill C-201 would boost government revenues because the cost of these tax credits will be outweighed by the employment insurance savings this bill will generate.

We also have to consider employers. They will have access to a larger pool of skilled workers, and Canadians will have access to jobs. Employers will no longer have to resort to temporary foreign workers.

Tradespeople have been waiting for a solution to this problem for a long time. The construction trades have actually been asking for this law for the past 30 years. The Conservatives and the Liberals have done absolutely nothing. The NDP has put forward a real solution.

I would like to congratulate my colleague from Hamilton Mountain because she has been fighting for this for years. In 2006, she introduced Bill C-390 and in 2008, Bill C-227. Now she is at it again with Bill C-201.

If the members of this House really want to support tradespeople, they must support this bill. It is time to pass this bill.

This bill will enable mobile workers across Canada to maintain their residences while relocating to get work. The tax credit would cover travel, meals and accommodation reduce amounts paid by employers for those purposes.

The 2008 budget provided this kind of tax relief to truckers as a way to minimize mobility issues in that sector. Everyone in the industry agrees. This bill will really help workers relocate to job sites.

According to the president of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Local 67, Geoff Roman, we have become too reliant on skilled workers to foot the bill when the country faces a labour shortage.

Robert Blakely, Director of the Canadian Affairs Building and Construction Trades Department agrees. He said:

The baby boomer generation, which no one expected was ever going to retire, is going to retire. We have spaces for nearly 2,500 people to enter the construction industry in the next five years, and another 163,000 people in the five years after that...If we have trained people all across the country, we need to be able to move them.

In Quebec, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 568, strongly supports the bill. Financial secretary Laurent Talbot stated:

The math is simple. More tradespeople working equals a lower unemployment rate.

It is true. There are roughly 1.6 million construction workers in the country and 10% of them move every year. At an average cost of $3,500 per worker per year, a 15% tax credit would cost the government $525 per worker per year, for a total cost of $84 million a year. For the same number of tradespeople receiving on average $393 in EI benefits a week for an unemployment period of four weeks, the government would pay $251 million in EI benefits a year, or nearly two and a half times more than under the bill, if it were passed.

The tax credit proposed in Bill C-201 would translate into a net savings of $167 million a year. That is not insignificant. This solution has been advocated by a number of experts. The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities made two similar recommendations in 2008 as part of a study on employability.

Last year, the committee addressed the issue of labour shortages again and made the following recommendation:

Recommendation 30.

The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada study the anticipated cost of introducing new fiscal measures that would help people who find jobs far away from where they live, for example a tax credit for travel and lodging if a person must work more than 80 kilometres from his or her residence, and that it study the potential impact of such measures on labour mobility and labour shortages.

After eight Conservative budgets, there still is no measure to correct this problem, which this government does not seem to take very seriously. Conservative members have said they support labour mobility, which is inconsistent. This is true of the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca and the member for Prince Albert. Liberal members should also support this bill, given that it affects the entire country and there are construction workers in all ridings.

I hope that the bill introduced by my colleague from Hamilton Mountain, Bill C-201, passes. Tradespersons need to be supported across Canada, and they need to be treated with respect, like all workers in Canada.

Income Tax ActRoutine Proceedings

November 24th, 2008 / 3:05 p.m.
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Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-227, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (travel and accommodation deduction for tradespersons).

Mr. Speaker, it is my great privilege today to re-introduce as my very first bill this Parliament a bill for which the Canadian building and construction trades have been lobbying for over 30 years. The bill would, at long last, allow tradespersons and indentured apprentices to deduct travel and accommodation expenses from their taxable income so they could secure and maintain employment at a construction site that would be more than 80 kilometres from their home.

It has never made sense for tradespersons to be out of work in one area of the country while another region suffers from temporary skilled labour shortages simply because the cost of travelling is too high. In these difficult economic times, it is especially incumbent upon us as legislators to do everything we can to help Canadians secure work.

I have spoken to the Minister of Finance about this bill and he has assured me that it would be considered as part of the budgetary process. I hope it will be reflected in the economic update that the minister is delivering on Thursday. For the government, the revenues generated through EI savings and additional income tax collected will far outweigh the cost of this tax benefit.

The bill would be a win-win-win. It would be a win for the government’s coffers, a win for the Canadian economy and a win for workers in the building trades. I am hopeful that in seeking ways to address the current economic crisis, all members of the House will put partisanship aside and work with me to ensure that the bill receives the speedy passage it deserves.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)