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)