Millwright Regional Council – Canada And Manitoba Minister Of Labour Malaya Marcelino

Published On: April 11, 2024Categories: Press Release

Winnipeg, MB. – The Millwright Regional Council – Canada met with Manitoba Labour Minister Malaya Marcelino on March 14th, 2024, to discuss tax fraud and the underground economy in Canada’s construction industry, and ways to partner together on this issue.

The underground economy in Canada’s construction industry undermines the country’s fiscal position and hurts legitimate contractors. A study commissioned by the OCS estimates that annual revenue losses due to underground activity have increased by 30% over the past decade.

“The underground economy in Canada’s construction industry undermines the Country’s fiscal position and hurts legitimate contractors. The primary driver of the underground economy is employers improperly classifying their workers as ‘Independent Operators’ rather than employees.”

Said James Szmerski, MRC Business Representative Millwright Local 1443 for Manitoba.

According to Statistics Canada, the total value of underground economic activity in 2018 was highest in the four largest economies: Ontario ($22.8 billion), Quebec ($14.2 billion), British Columbia ($10.8 billion) and Alberta ($6.2 billion). These four economies accounted for 88.4% of total underground economy, while the total GDP created by these four provinces accounted for 87.1% of total economy.

Fraudulent contractors cheat Canadians out of hard-earned pay and benefits by misclassifying workers as independent contractors and paying them under the table to avoid taxes, including worker protections, pension, health care, and employment insurance.

Tax fraud in construction makes job sites less safe because contractors who operate off the books or misclassify their employees as independent contractors cut corners and compromise the safety of workers, such as not paying appropriate Workers’ Compensation premiums.

We are encouraged by Labour Minister’s Marcelino’s support to end construction industry tax fraud and working together towards solutions that reign in the underground economy.

The UBC Tax Fraud Days of Action are taking place across Canada and the United States April 13-19, 2024, to bring awareness to the issues of tax fraud and the underground economy.
Safety is our Highest Priority. Learn more at

About the Millwright Regional Council – Canada

The Millwright Regional Council – Canada (MRC) is composed of thirteen affiliated Local Unions of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC) across Canada. UBC millwrights are vital partners in diverse industries such as energy, automotive, aerospace, food processing, and pharmaceuticals.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Andrew Bredin

Director of Communications
Millwright Regional Council – Canada