A private member’s bill put forward by Conservative MP for Essex Chris Lewis would see tradespeople get reimbursed for travel expenses if it becomes law.
Lewis’s Bill C-241 passed second reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday with the support of the NDP, Green Party, and Bloc Québécois. All but one Liberal member voted against it.
“These folks have been walked past time and time and time again,” Lewis told CBC News. “These are the same folks that continue to build our economy, that will build our roads.”
The bill proposing that tradespeople who travel more than 120 kilometres for work would have the ability to claim expenses against their income tax — that would include things like travel accommodation and meals.
Lewis said the province of Ontario alone needs 350,000 trades workers by the year 2025.
“If people have to pay to go to work with the price of fuel, and the price of food, and the price of transportation, and the price of hotels and the price of accommodations, then why are they going to want to go to work?” Lewis said.
Thousands in expenses
The bill would go a long way to help, say workers including electrician Jaret Wills of Windsor. He said he often pays thousands in expenses when travelling for work.
“It could very well be $500 to $700 initially just to get down to the job site,” said Wills. “After that, depending on your duration, before you come home, it could be another couple of thousand dollars.”
Bill C-241 would still need to pass third reading in the House of Commons and go before the Senate to become law.
Lewis said he is positive about the eventual outcome.