HALIFAX, N.S. — Nova Scotia officially launched its MOST program to help youth in the skilled trades on Wednesday at a lunchtime event at the Irving Shipyards.
The More Opportunities for Skilled Trades program provides a provincial tax refund to tradespeople under the age of 30 on the first $50,000 of income. The program should apply to about 7,500 workers with an average reimbursement of about $2,700. It was announced earlier in the 2022 provincial budget.
Calling it an “exciting” program, Premier Tim Houston said it was a great incentive for apprentices and journeypersons.
“We know there are labor shortages all over the province, but it’s really prevalent in construction,” Houston told the gathered media after addressing the crowd of workers and officials gathered in front of the huge building where work continues on the future HMCS William Hall. , the fourth new arctic and offshore patrol boat to be produced at the shipyard.
“So we know there are huge opportunities in these industries – and in others as well, but we have to start somewhere – so what we are doing is we are fixing professions that have a track record of apprenticeship, an apprenticeship, a journeyman, something associated with the Nova Scotia Apprentice Agency, that’s where we started.
The goal is to get more people to work in the skilled trades as people see the opportunities this program offers.
“We’re hopeful we’ll attract people to Nova Scotia,” Houston said.
“We will attract people to the skilled trades and keep others here (so) they can earn a living right here in Nova Scotia.
He also said the tax refund application process will be simple and details will be released closer to tax season.
The program will be effective for the 2022 tax year. Eligible workers will be eligible for their refund after filing their 2022 tax return and receiving a notice of assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency.
Shea Erskine, a second-year welder apprentice at the shipyard, said she worked two jobs before returning to school at NSCC to take welding courses and was worried about going into debt.
Reimbursement will be a big help, she says.
“Honestly, the financial stress that, for me, going back to school had, it was scary,” Erskine said.
“I almost didn’t do it because of that. So to have this now for future apprentices takes a load off, of course, just to help pay student debt or even just living expenses.
“I feel like the driving force to get people out of the province is money, so the more we can do to help keep people in the province, like this tax credit I think that it might work.”
Houston said the program could be expanded in the future.
“There are a lot of calls to add more streams, add more people, that would just include more professions, and certainly income level, so we’re starting now. We are really excited to start. And it will help a lot of people and we will continue to make sure it helps as many people as possible.
“When you here, a youngster like Shea, talk about the positive impact it can have, it confirms that we are on the right track, for sure. We need to grow our population and we certainly need people working in the skilled trades, so that’s an incentive we’re really optimistic about.
A full list of eligible skilled trades is available here.