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Carpenter’s District Council of Ontario and United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Members Join Forces to Stop Tax Fraud

April 15, 2019, Toronto, Ontario – The Carpenter’s District Council of Ontario (“CDCO”) and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (“UBC”) have joined together to execute four events in The Greater Toronto Area that are designed to raise awareness of tax fraud and proliferation of the underground economy in the construction industry.

The events are in response to the increasing losses generated each year as a result of the underground construction economy. A recent Prism Economics and Analysis report shares that tax fraud in the construction industry resulted in revenue losses to governments and government agencies of $1.8-$3.1 billion annually between 2013-2017 in Ontario.  The events on April 15th will focus on highlighting the underground economy through providing education on what organizations and municipalities can be doing to prevent it. Events on April 15th include a news conference at Toronto City Hall, presence at the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) and Waterloo Region Offices, as well as a non-union jobsite rally.

The City of Toronto is the focus for the events as the City has taken a variety of steps aimed at restricting the underground construction economy.  Steps include use of Construction Collective Agreements and the establishment of a Fair Wage Office and Fair Wage Policy.  “The benchmarks that the City of Toronto has implemented are extremely effective at reducing the losses and impact of tax fraud in the construction industry” says Mike Yorke, President of Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario. “We want to highlight key partners in the construction industry and the example they have set because their actions exemplify how a municipality can operate effectively with collective agreements and other preventative tax fraud measures.”

While other Ontario municipalities are supporting political action, such as Bill 66, that would open the door for contractors to engage in improper tax filing practices, the systems that the City of Toronto has put in place to restrict the underground economy are ultimately benefitting taxpayers by ensuring that their tax dollars are being allocated and spent effectively. When tax fraud takes place, it prevents the employees of contractors who partake in unfair practices from gaining eligibility for workers compensation, unemployment, and from contributing to personal retirement plans and social security. This is also what leads to money being taken from public funds designated for items like healthcare and social services.

Tax fraud in the construction industry is a result of many construction employers, including those operating taxpayer-funded projects, failing to properly withhold or pay income/employment taxes for their workers. Many workers are paid off-the-books or are styled as independent operators, enabling contractors to avoid proper tax practices.

The CDCO and UBC’s Construction Industry Tax Fraud Days of Action are April 13-15, 2019 in 70 cities across Canada and the United States. Please visit www.standinguptotaxfraud.net for more information on tax fraud and details regarding the Days of Action events.

The full Prism Economics and Analysis report on the underground economy in Ontario’s construction industry can be accessed through the Ontario Construction Secretariat at https://iciconstruction.com 

Media Contact

Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario

Mike Yorke, President

416-587-5577

myorke@thecarpentersunion.ca

About the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario (CDCO)
The Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario (“CDCO”) is composed of 16 affiliated Local Unions of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners (“UBC”) across the province. In total, they represent over 30,000 individuals working in a wide range of skilled trades, including carpentry, drywall, resilient flooring, concrete formwork, underwater construction, welding, scaffolding, and a variety of others.

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