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


Matthew Green  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 Dec. 16, 2021

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

This enactment amends the Income Tax Act to allow tradespersons and indentured apprentices to deduct from their income amounts expended for travelling where they were employed in a construction activity at a job site that is located at least 80 km 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.

March 10th, 2023 / 10:05 a.m.
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Mario Simard Bloc Jonquière, QC


You heard Mr. Samray testify earlier that he had some concerns about the impact of Bill S‑222, An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (use of wood).

I support this bill as written. I want to see more wood used, but I seriously doubt that the bill will have any effect on wood use when it comes into force. Will it have any real impact?

There is a fairly simple legal principle called presumption of effectiveness. People say that the legislator doesn't speak for the sake of speaking.

However, Bill S‑222 provides that the minister can “allow the use of wood” and “consider any potential reduction in greenhouse gas emissions”.

In my opinion, as it stands, the minister can already allow the use of wood and consider any potential reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. No bill is needed to do that.

So my amendment goes along those lines.

I move the following:

That Bill S‑222, in Clause 1, be amended by replacing line 12 on page 1 with the following: “shall maximize the use of wood. The Minister may also allow the use of any other thing — including".

I'm adding the idea of maximizing the use of wood. Using “maximize” rather than “can allow” would, at the very least, ensure that more wood is used as a building material.

If the purpose of Bill S‑222 is to give our buildings a smaller carbon footprint, it sounds like wishful thinking in its current form.

As I said earlier, there is a primary legal principle called presumption of effectiveness; the legislator doesn't speak for the sake of speaking. I get the impression that the current bill has the legislator speaking for the sake of speaking.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

February 13th, 2023 / 11:45 a.m.
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Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to join the House today from Hamilton Centre in support of this bill at third reading. I extend my sincere congratulations to the hon. member for Essex. We had quite some time joking around about the fact that he got to be an honorary New Democrat while presenting this private member's bill, Bill C-241. I think he even promised to wear an orange tie, although I am not quite sure that I have seen that in the House, but I have done my best today.

I wanted to make sure that as New Democrats we get a chance to set the record straight today. This bill has been proposed five times since 2006. The then hon. member Chris Charlton for Hamilton Mountain introduced this bill in 2006, 2008 and 2013. In fact, she had introduced Bill C-201 in 2013, which was crushed by a Conservative majority. I will give the hon. member for Essex the benefit, because I know from his remarks that he was not elected in 2013. However, I will note that the Conservative leader, the hon. member for Carleton, voted against it.

We, as New Democrats, continued to fight alongside the building trades, and in 2021 this was introduced by my dear friend, the always honourable Scott Duvall from Hamilton Mountain, and of course myself. In 2021, one of my first orders of business, and a promise I made to our Hamilton-Brantford Building Trades Council and all of its affiliates, was that I would pick it up and run with it in Bill C-222.

As pointed out by the previous Liberal member, there is only a small difference between what the government has introduced and what this bill provides with respect to distance. Members may recall in the previous reading that this was an issue I brought up. It was clear that in our bill, Bill C-222, we had suggested that the 120-kilometre radius was too far. It would have excluded too many people, particularly those who had to commute through hours of traffic in the GTA. In our bill it was 80 kilometres. If the Parliamentary Budget Officer had run those numbers, he would have seen that more people could have taken advantage of the deduction in our proposal. One of my regrets is that it was not carried through during its time at committee.

I acknowledge and give credit where it is due to the organized labour of Ontario. These are the Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, Canada's Building Trades Unions, the Hamilton—Brantford Building & Construction Trades Council, the people I worked with and the people we are all familiar with, such as the recently retired Pat Dillon here in Ontario. Throughout his entire 20-year career he worked on this. He was dogmatic across all parties that it was something that had to happen because of the general fairness imbued in the bill and the differences identified among the corporate, the Bay Street and the management classes of the country. They got to travel around the world and deduct all of that. That privilege is not extended by the CRA to those who actually build wealth and generate true value in this economy, which is the working class.

I want to make a correction, and will do so even perhaps to my own embarrassment, but it certainly needs to be said in the House. It has been said many times that MPs get to write off their travel. That is not true. An MP's travel is covered by our members' budgets, so it is a very different scenario. I hope that we would ensure that what is good enough for us would be good enough for the working class.

I call again for the same spirit from our new-found socialist Conservative friends who are looking to extend these rights and privileges to the working class. Keep that energy up when it comes to things like dental care and pharmacare. These are things that we, as members of Parliament, have the privilege of receiving and some of us for our entire lives. Let us be clear. There are members in the House who speak about work and working class issues in a completely abstract way, because they have never actually worked in the private sector. That is a fact.

While I do not know the history of my friend from Essex, I am grateful that in his trips to the airport he was able to engage in a dialectical materialism with the working class. It identified that the real-world conditions of the working class and the contradictions of the class considerations provide a general unfairness in how we treat our blue-collar workers compared to the white-collar management class in this country. A person, such as a real estate lawyer or a developer, can fly across the country and write all of that off. However, the worker who actually builds that wealth and who constructs the actual material does not get the same consideration. It is indeed one of the inherent contradictions of our tax code and our general economy.

To go further, to talk about the exploitation of the building trades workers, the hon. member for Essex brought up the notion of affordability in housing. This is an issue that comes up in my community when I am talking to folks about the issues of their housing costs and how far away their ability is, through their wages, to purchase the things they make. This is indeed a perversion of the capitalism and the impacts of capitalism in this country that divorces the working class from the end product of their labour. It is an alienation of the working class. It is an estrangement of labour.

In the example I used, the building a house metaphor, while the cost of building the house varies between provinces and because of factors like materials, currently the housing construction costs range between $120 to $250 per square foot. If we were to average this out, it would be about $185 per square foot or approximately $370,000 to build a 2,000 square foot home in Canada. That is twice as much, and sometimes three times as much, as the average market cost. StatsCan listed the average Canadian house price in 2022 at approximately $704,000.

The average salary I could find of a union carpenter is about $70,000. That means it is 10 times as much, or 10 years' worth of work, for the person who builds the house to be able to purchase the house. The surplus value of their labour goes to people who have never swung a hammer in their entire lives. It goes to the banking class, the Bay Street class, the developer class and those who go to Doug Ford's family weddings and pay to increase their access to construction within provinces like Ontario. The money and the obscene profits that are made never make their way to the working class of this country.

It is the ultra-elite and the well-connected, those who have political ties, those who would seek to keep wages low and recall the Bank of Canada calling to keep the wages of workers low while the costs continue to run amok. It is shareholders, private investors in the investing class in this country, who are the ones taking the surplus value of workers' wages. It is not because workers are fighting for higher wages.

Under this economic system of private ownership, society only has two classes. These are the property class, or those who have access to capital, and everybody else. The workers are suffering from not only impoverishment but also from exploitation and estrangement from their work. That is why this very meagre private member's bill, Bill C-241, is literally the least we can do in the House to acknowledge that there is a general unfairness in our tax system.

I hope the hon. members from the Conservative Party, who crushed this bill some 10 years ago, who now have found their way in supporting this private member's bill, will keep that same energy up and understand it is the working class of this country who creates the value. That is who we should be prioritizing in the policies of the House.

November 2nd, 2022 / 6:05 p.m.
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Chris Lewis Conservative Essex, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to the witnesses here. I appreciate it. I have just a few questions.

In my testimony, I mentioned that CBTU did a study—commissioned a financial projection—which estimates that Canada-wide implementation of a skilled trades workforce mobility tax deduction would save the federal government an estimated $347 million annually.

Subsequently, Bill C-222 was introduced—or perhaps it wasn't even introduced. This is Mr. Green's bill. The Parliamentary Budget Officer issued a legislative costing note on Bill C-222, which is very similar to Bill C-241, on April 5, 2022, estimating the cost of this measure. In 2022-23 it's $117 million, and its five-year cost is $522 million.

Does it not make sense to keep the money in the pockets of the skilled trades workers if the government's going to rake in $347 million and it's only going to cost them $117 million a year?

Mr. Maxson.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

March 23rd, 2022 / 6:25 p.m.
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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 ActRoutine Proceedings

December 16th, 2021 / 10:10 a.m.
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Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-222, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (travel expenses deduction for tradespersons).

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House today to carry forward the work of the always honourable Scott Duvall and table a bill entitled, “an act to amend the Income Tax Act for travel expenses deduction for tradespersons”.

I would like to thank the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for seconding the motion. This bill would allow for qualified tradespersons and indentured apprentices to deduct travel expenses when they travel to job sites more than 80 kilometres away from their ordinary places of residence.

I would like to extend sincere thanks and congratulations to Pat Dillon, the recently retired business manager and secretary treasurer of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, who has been a lifelong leader and advocate for the building trades. I would also like to extend my thanks to my dear friend Mark Ellerker of the Hamilton–Brantford Building and Construction Trades Council who continues to push this issue forward. Last, I want to give a special thanks to Stuart McLellan of IBEW local 105, who has already made it very clear to me that while these types of tax deductions already exist for white collar workers, it is well past time to ensure that similar financial supports are extended to the hard-working people in the building trades.

During the last election, both the Liberals and the Conservatives committed to support for tradespersons, so I believe this bill is one that we can find support on.

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