Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Canada's Building Trades Unions represent close to 500,000 members in Canada and more than three million in the U.S. We represent people who go to work every day on job sites large and small in the energy sector, and commercial and residential sectors. We're the largest private trainer on the continent and we invest more than a quarter billion dollars a year in Canada in training infrastructure. So we know jobs. We're paid by our members to find jobs every week. If we don't find them a job, we're not doing our job.
Jobs are essentially a private sector responsibility, right? My submission today is that the federal government can easily assist with mobility measures in the Canadian labour market that would assist people who wouldn't otherwise go to where the work is and get them when the employers need them. This can be done through tax credits or a restructure of the employment insurance benefits system and do it all rather cheaply compared to other government spending. My submission is that a mobility assistance measure would ease the strained temporary foreign worker program by transitioning Canadians to labour markets where their talents are required. Even if it's a short duration it helps the economy and the country. A mobility measure would encourage people to get off employment insurance and start working again: a noble cause on both fronts.
All construction work is temporary. All construction work is transitory. Skilled tradespeople are dispatched wherever the work may be. The lucky ones get travel assistance from either the construction employer or the large client. You heard from Janet from CAPP. Sometimes her members pay to fly back and forth to their job sites. The existing permanent relocation tax credit available through the Income Tax Act doesn't make sense or apply to temporary workers who work in transitory industries. No one is moving their family and home for a temporary six-week job on a large apartment building being built in Saskatoon or Hamilton when your kids, wife, and home are in Welland, Barrie, Tuktoyaktuk, or elsewhere.
Canada needs a change in incentive policy for in-demand occupations when relocating for temporary work. lt doesn't matter to industry, it doesn't matter to Janet, or it doesn't matter to me if it's a tax credit or an El grant: industry is united. Parliament had a chance to do something late last fall with Bill C-201. However, the bill was handily defeated because of partisanship. Mobility and getting a job is a non-partisan issue to Canadians. The Government of Canada introducing a mobility assistance policy for in-demand workers is not a partisan act. The government helping people temporarily relocate for work is not a partisan exercise. The government's expense getting them there today means tax revenues tomorrow from the worker, the capital asset, and the company doing the work.
The pilot I suggest in my written submission to the committee starts small; $4 million in forgone tax revenue. lt returns $12 million in income tax paid by individuals alone. Pick a few occupations most in need and choose a few major projects to determine eligibility in the pilot. Federal budgets are about wise spending choices and this modest pilot certainly falls into the frugal category when you look at the breadth of public program spending in Canada. For example Public Works indicates the various departments in Ottawa spent about the same amount on public polling in 2013 as this request would be.
This measure could also help Canadians get the training they need in a different market where there is work and an employer willing to tap into the Canada job grant. Use the mobility measure to get to where the training is for the job you're about to start. The job grant is dependent on an employer willing to hire you. Markets with hot employment markets will require more people to be trained. There is a natural link here. The Canada job grant, despite the noise, is the single most important change to the training landscape in two decades.