Skilled trades workers from across Canada were in Ottawa today to meet with their Members of Parliament and request that they vote against Bill C-377.

The meetings were organized by the Canadian division of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD).

The meetings provided an opportunity for skilled trades workers to voice their concerns about Bill C-377 directly to their MPs.

Bob Blakely, director of Canadian affairs for the BCTD, said skilled trades workers from Vancouver to St. John’s are worried about the impacts of the legislation and it’s costly negative impacts on major oil sands developments and other large-scale energy projects.

“Our workers rely on their unions to provide necessary benefits and training with the dues that they pay,” he said.

“Our partner contractors – and clients they work for – rely on them to use the skilled manpower we provide in a cost-efficient manner. C-377 is going to see that money spent on creating more government bureaucracy.  It will slow down Canada’s economic recovery in the construction sector.”

Blakely said Bill C-377 is intended to fix a problem that does not exist and endangers the ability of the building trades to build projects across the country and create jobs.

He said it would create an expanded, expensive and redundant bureaucracy and actually duplicate processes that are already in place to provide accountability and transparency for workers.

“Our workers belong to private sector unions,” he noted. “Unlike charities and political parties, they do not receive any public subsidies or public monies. Our workers and their families enjoy tax deductibility on the dues they pay to their unions, the same way other professionals like doctors and lawyers do. If enacted, C-377 will negatively impact 500,000 Canadian skilled trades workers.”

The BCTD co-ordinates activities and provides resources to 15 affiliated trade unions in the construction, maintenance and fabrication industries. In Canada, the BCTD represents 500,000 skilled trades workers.