OTTAWA — Stephen Harper says a Conservative government would spend $60 million a year on increased and extended tax credits for businesses that hire would-be tradespeople.
Speaking in Laval, Que., on the first full day of the 2015 election campaign, the prime minister says the apprenticeship job creation tax credit would help to deal with Canada's long-standing skilled labour shortage.
The Conservatives would increase the maximum credit, first introduced in 2006, to $2,500 from $2,000, and also extend it to the third and fourth years of eligible apprenticeship training.
He says it would also help aspiring tradespeople develop the skills necessary to find stable, long-term work.
The party says the measure would deplete public coffers by $60 million a year, starting in 2016.
Harper's campaign itinerary takes him to Kingston, Ont., later today, followed by a rally at a golf course in Ajax, east of Toronto — the former riding of his longtime finance minister, Jim Flaherty.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is expected to make an appearance in Calgary today; NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has no public events scheduled.
The Canadian Press