By Anthony Capkun
January 12, 2016 – Ontario says it is seeking input from individuals who work in the residential construction sector on ways to prevent illegal practices that contribute to the underground economy, such as under-the-table transactions.
Laura Albanese, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Finance, is consulting with stakeholders, like the Ontario Home Builders’ Association, “to better understand the scope of the underground economy” within the sector. She will also gather advice on how best to help responsible contractors remain successful and support the economy.
“It is important to hear from the people who work in the construction sector as they will be able to provide the most valuable input on how to combat the underground economy,” said Albanese.
Individuals that run a business or work in the residential construction sector are invited to submit their ideas on the types of illicit activities that impact their ability to remain competitive to MOF-PPAB@ontario.ca .
“As the voice of the residential construction and professional renovation industry in Ontario, OHBA welcomes these discussions and looks forward to working with the government to stop the underground economy in order to protect consumers and support professional home builders and renovators,” said , OHBA CEO.
According to the ministry, the underground economy accounts for $15 billion in lost economic activity in Ontario each year. Illicit practices may also impact worker safety and prevent workers from accessing government support programs, says the ministry, such as workplace safety and insurance protections, the Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance.
Statistics Canada says the residential construction sector accounts for almost 30% of Ontario’s underground economy, or about $4.5 billion in annual underground economic activity.