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Letters  

Needs a vehicle for work

The Canadian Press has described an ongoing labor shortage despite starting wages being 25% above minimum wage.

However, that increased wage is more than offset by a relatively unspoken barrier to entering the construction industry—vehicle ownership.

As an able-bodied man who took multiple shop classes in high school and participated in home renovations and landscaping projects, it is not my lack of construction labour experience that prevents me from being hired. In the last several responses I got for entry level labourer jobs, I was directly asked not just if I had a vehicle but what make and model it was.

I can appreciate why that would be a job requirement. However, in today's economic circumstance even an unreliable vehicle is quite expensive. The reality is owning a reliable vehicle can easily cost $1,000 per month, which, when broken down based on a 40-hour work week, is about $5 per hour.

That means the average entry level labourer making $22 per hour, is actually netting closer to $17 per hour.

It's a catch-22. The lack of infrastructure impedes the creation of infrastructure as there isn't enough parking for all the vehicles that are only necessitated by poor neighbourhood design or a lack of public transit.

It should go without saying we need to drastically improve our public transit to alleviate this and many other similar problems. The city must constantly appease multiple parties, including upset neighbours, contractors and individual labourers.

A better solution is to continue to push back against underhanded employment practices.

If construction companies want an employee to own a vehicle so they can work at multiple sites, employees should be compensated for the wear and tear on their vehicle, similar to any other driver or courier.

Likewise, if these employers want to attract reliable entry-level hires, they need to ensure the net compensation they're offering isn't outbid by lower paying jobs that don't require a vehicle.

Connon York



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