PROPOSED NEW TAX CREDITS TO ENCOURAGE SKILLS TRAINING

VICTORIA ? British Columbia plans to introduce new tax credits to support trades training, improve completion rates, and encourage apprenticeships for First Nations individuals and persons with disabilities, Finance Minister Carole Taylor announced today.

Effective Jan. 1, 2007, subject to legislative approval, the B.C. Training Tax Credit Program will offer tax credits to individuals and employers based on the type of apprenticeship program and the level of training completed, and provide enhanced credits for First Nations individuals and persons with disabilities.

?British Columbia?s record job creation creates a strong demand for skilled workers,? said Taylor. ?These new credits will make British Columbia a leader in recognizing and supporting the contribution that employers and apprentices make towards our skilled workforce.?

Enhanced credits will also be provided to encourage more First Nations individuals and persons with disabilities to participate in trades training. Individual and employer tax credits will be 50 per cent higher than they would otherwise receive.

?Improving employment opportunities for First Nations individuals is crucial to the improved prosperity of their communities and the province,? Taylor said. ?And persons with disabilities have much to offer the workplace, yet remain underemployed as a community. Our enhanced tax credits will provide added supports and incentives for these communities.?

The B.C. Training Tax Credit Program will complement the federal government?s training incentives that apply to the first two years? enrolment in 47 ?Red Seal? apprenticeship programs. British Columbia will extend similar incentives to 79 B.C.-recognized (non-Red Seal) apprenticeship programs. British Columbia will also introduce ?completion credits? for most apprenticeship programs (Red Seal and non-Red Seal) to provide further benefits tied to the completion of higher training levels. part of our skills training agenda,? said Colin Hansen, B.C.?s Minister of Economic Development. ?Together with new investment in post-secondary spaces, inviting new immigrants with their skills, energy and ideas, and increasing the number of apprenticeship training spaces ? these initiatives will help provide us with the skilled workforce we need to keep B.C.?s economy moving.?

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PROPOSED B.C. TRAINING TAX CREDIT PROGRAM

Effective Jan. 1, 2007, subject to legislative approval, the B.C. Training Tax Credit Program will provide refundable tax credits for employees and employers engaged in apprenticeship programs administered through the Industry Training Authority.

Budget 2006 committed an additional $400 million over four years towards skills and training, including $90 million for new tax credits to help meet the demand for skilled workers. The tax expenditure for the training tax credit program is estimated at $29 million per year. The program was developed in consultation with business, labour and training institutes as well as groups representing First Nations and persons with disabilities.

The Industry Training Authority oversees B.C.?s industry training and apprenticeship system, providing a skilled workforce for industry and career development opportunities for British Columbians. There are more than 31,000 apprentices currently registered with the ITA.

The ITA administers 47 ?Red Seal? training programs and 79 B.C.-recognized (non-Red Seal) training programs. The Red Seal programs follow national standards for content, assessment and achievement in trades such as carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and automotive repair. B.C.-recognized (non-Red Seal) training follows provincial standards and includes trades such as building envelope technician, oil and gas rig technician, and landscape horticulturist.

There are three main elements to the B.C. Training Tax Credit Program: basic credits, completion credits, and enhanced credits for First Nations individuals and persons with disabilities. The tax credits apply to individuals engaged in apprenticeship training and to their employers, including corporations, partnerships and sole proprietors.

1. Basic Credits British Columbia?s basic credits will complement the Government of Canada?s incentives for training. The federal incentives are limited to the first two years? enrolment in Red Seal apprenticeship programs and consist of a tax credit of 10 per cent of wages up to $2,000 for employers and a $1,000 taxable grant for apprentices. British Columbia?s basic training tax credits will provide similar incentives to the 79 B.C.-recognized (non-Red Seal) apprenticeship programs not currently eligible for the federal incentives.

Employers: The basic credit for employers will be 10 per cent of wages paid up to $2,000 per apprentice in the first 24 months of a non-Red Seal apprenticeship program.

Employees: The basic credit for employees will be $1,000 per year for the first two years of any non-Red Seal apprenticeship program.

2.Completion Credits

British Columbia?s completion credits will apply to both Red-Seal and non-Red Seal apprenticeship training programs and provide further benefits tied to the completion of higher training levels.

Employer:

?Lesser of $2,500 or 15 per cent of wages paid to an apprentice that completes level 3 of any apprenticeship program.

?Lesser of $3,000 or 15 per cent of wages paid to an apprentice that completes level 4 or higher of any apprenticeship program.

Employee:

?$2,000 for completing level 3 of any apprenticeship program.

?$2,500 for completing level 4 or higher of any apprenticeship program.