Little seduction at $5,000: Alberta courts our construction workers

Alberta is making eyes on Quebec construction workers, trained at Quebec’s expense, by offering them attractive tax advantages so that they can move to the land of the wild rose.

• Read also: Construction: low proportion of women in accelerated training

• Read also: Girard Budget: Quebec is already adding accelerated construction training

Last month, Danielle Smith’s government announced the “Alberta is calling” program, a $5,000 refundable tax credit for skilled workers across the country who will decide to settle in the province.

Archive photo

With this incentive, Alberta hopes to attract some 2,000 workers who work in particularly in-demand job categories, such as “electricians, heavy equipment mechanics, pipefitters and crane operators,” explained to the Newspapera spokesperson for the Alberta Minister of Employment.

However, several of these professions are directly targeted by the accelerated and paid training program launched last fall by the Legault government in order to recruit 4,000 to 5,000 workers in the construction field.

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Although very popular, this program is not unanimous. Critics have raised the fact that students have no obligation to work in the construction industry in Quebec after their training, even if they receive a scholarship of $750 per week to learn a trade.

Some might therefore decide to head west after finishing their course, seduced by the idea of ​​pocketing $5,000 and by much lower tax rates than here (see box).

Zero risk does not exist, says Quebec

This possibility does not overly worry the Minister of Labor, Jean Boulet, even if he agrees that “zero risk does not exist”.

Little seduction at $5,000: Alberta courts our construction workers

Photo Stevens LeBlanc

“However, I am very confident that the vast majority of AEP students will join construction sites in Quebec,” he expressed in a written statement to Newspaper.

“I recently announced that networking and recruitment will be done by entrepreneurs in collaboration with professional training centers,” continued the minister. The CCQ has also developed tools that it has made available to students on its website.”

An exodus of workers would be “problematic”

The fact remains that Quebec cannot afford to lose construction workers in the current context.

“Last year there were 12,000 vacancies at the peak of activity in the construction industry. We expect similar figures this year, where there will be a shortage of between 12,000 and 15,000 people on construction sites. So seeing workers leave would be problematic for the industry,” noted in an interview the public affairs manager of the Association de la construction du Québec (ACQ), Guillaume Houle.

“On the other hand, I do not believe that a credit of $5,000 is sufficient, considering the truly exceptional quality of working conditions in Quebec,” he added.

According to Mr. Houle, the Alberta program may be more interesting for workers from British Columbia or Saskatchewan, for strictly geographical reasons. “But it’s true that zero risk does not exist,” he concluded.

Tax rates in Quebec and Alberta


  • 14% on the portion of taxable income of $51,780 or less
  • 19% on the portion between $51,780 and $103,545
  • 24% on the part between $103,545 and $126,000
  • 25.75% on the portion of income that exceeds $126,000


  • 10% on the portion of taxable income of $148,269 or less
  • 12% on the portion between $148,269 and $177,922
  • 13% on the portion between $177,922 and $237,230
  • 14% on the portion between $237,230 and $355,845
  • 15% on the portion exceeding $355,845

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