Important announcement for EWO Members from the President of the EWO Board.
May 4, 2011
As the current President of Education at Work Ontario (EWO), I want to take this opportunity to thank you and your institution for supporting EWO. EWO is your co-operative education organization, which is the voice of post-secondary co-operative education for Ontario.
As an association, EWO endeavors to support its co-op members through the web-site, annual PD retreats, through government lobbying and finally by working in partnership with the National co-op body, Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE).
Indeed EWO is becoming a strong advocate on behalf of it constituents for co-operative education in Ontario. Over the next several months you and your institutions will be hearing from EWO on a fairly regular basis as we implement some changes and address some questions from our Provincial government.
Our website is in the process of a major update to benefit you the stakeholder, our employers, students/parents, teachers from the secondary system, post-secondary institutions, the government and our members.
Today, I want to get to the real purpose of my message which is directed to the institutions offering quality co-op programs in Ontario. You recall that prior to the CAFCE conference (2010) a by-law change was being circulated as it pertained to the definition of co-operative education and work terms.
This change would have impacted the Ontario Co-operative Education Tax Credit (CETC), which the Presidents of pre-EWO had worked so hard to establish. The CAFCE proposal to change the definition forced the EWO board to review the impact the change could have in Ontario and EWO was advised by the government public servants that a definition change could trigger a review by the Provincial government of the Co-op Tax Credit.
It was at this time the board conducted its own review of the tax credit and the responsibility that EWO has in relation to the government of the day in Ontario.
In 2009, the tax credit was increased from $1,000 to $3,000 after extensive lobbying by EWO; this was a major accomplishment given that this increase occurred during a recession.
The EWO board and its Government Relation committee held meetings with the provincial government over the past 5 years, which culminated in the increase of the old co-op tax credit to the current amount (see attachment #1 – Budget Highlights March 2009) however over the course of these meetings and in subsequent reviews of the tax credit regulations we have discovered several “key” issues that can have a detrimental effect on the current tax credit and some of the post-secondary institutions offering co-op programs in Ontario.
The issues are as follows;
1. The Ministry of Finance relies on the EWO website to be a resource that lists all current co-op programs that qualify for the tax credit (see attachment #2 - Co-operative Education Tax Credit Information Bulletin: 4014).
2. We (EWO Board) must ensure this list is current for the Ministry.
3. It is necessary that our members give us accurate information and keep their list of programs/contacts current.
4. It is imperative on the board’s part to ensure due diligence in posting only eligible co-op programs that meet the co-op definition of the Ministry of Revenue (see attachment #2) and the Ministry of Colleges and University (see attachment # 3 MTCU Funding Approval Form – pages 8 and 9) when we report the co-op programs listed on our site is current. It should be noted at this point that when the original tax credit was drafted, the current Executives of Co-op Ontario were part of the discussions with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Revenue and it was stated that Co-op Ontario now EWO would be a resource for the Ministries to rely upon for the list of programs that qualify under the Ministry guidelines.
5. Ultimately, per subsection 14, (see attachment #2 – page 8 and # 3 – Taxation Act, 2007 (See Part IV - Article 88, page 6)) each post-secondary institution is responsible to certify the work term is eligible per Ministry guidelines. Failure to accurately certify these work terms can have a very negative impact. Minister of Finance’s direction and order “If incorrect certifications have been given under subsection (14) or an eligible educational institution has certified a work placement to be a qualifying work placement when it was not, the Minister of Finance may direct the educational institution to cease certifying work placements and may order that all or certain of the work placements of the institution be deemed not to be qualifying work placements for the purposes of this section until the Minister of Finance revokes the direction and order.” 2007, c. 11, Sched. A, s. 88 (15).
Since the Co-operative Education Tax Credit increase has tripled, it is highly possible that more parliamentary interest will be directed at this tax credit during budget debates. EWO member institutions must adhere to these guidelines to ensure the integrity of their co-op program.
Therefore, under the “due diligence” of the organization, we are attaching copies of the regulations which have been referenced. There are definitely some gaps in what is being offered by the post-secondary institutions in Ontario and what is on the EWO website. Prior to any government meetings, EWO wants to be prepared and we want to be able to say to the Ministry that we have taken steps to ensure the information is current and accurate on our website and that as the Ministry’s delegate we can say to best of our knowledge the programs meet the current definition of the Ministry to qualify for the Tax Credit.
Please contact Kirk Patterson if you have any questions.
Sincerely, Kirk Patterson President, Education at Work Ontario
Attachment #1 | Budget Highlights March 2009
Attachment #2 | Co-operative Education Tax Credit Information Bulletin: 4014)
Attachment #3 | Taxation Act, 2007 (See Part IV - Article 88, page 6)