Some automobile manufacturers appear to have made their products more
difficult for the “do-it-yourself” types to repair and maintain
themselves. However, the free market has ingenious methods by which to
send a powerful message of discontent to such manufacturers. Of course,
governments can interfere with such signals. In recent years, the
governments of the USA, Canada and Ontario put together a rescue package
for an automobile manufacturer that had declared bankruptcy. Organized
labour was the main beneficiary of the bailout package and taxpayers had
to foot the bill.
But the market pushes back. A few months ago, a locomotive factory
closed in Southern Ontario and production transferred to an identical
factory in the USA, where wages were much lower. More recently, an
automobile manufacturer announced impending layoffs at their factory
located just east of Toronto. The company plans to transfer production
to another factory in a region where the wage rates are much lower.
However, commercial property owners in Quebec are trapped, given that
they are unable to transfer the repairs and maintenance of their
properties to locations outside the province.
A regulation that prevents owners of commercial properties from
undertaking their own repairs and maintenance on their property may
discourage future ownership of commercial property in small communities
in outlying areas. Instead of employing personnel at an established
business or commercial location, business owners may subcontract to
entrepreneurs who work from home offices or home workshops. But in some
domestic jurisdictions, subcontractors who work from home may be
classified as employees and their client their employer.
This can get so absurd that the client may be held liable for the
condition of a work area located on somebody else’s property, despite
having no legal right to enter such property. Some entrepreneurs may
avoid such complications altogether by outsourcing services to offshore
providers. Regulations that bestow favours to domestic labour unions may
ultimately achieve the opposite of the intended result by exporting a
variety of jobs overseas.
Now that a higher court in Ontario has recently struck down certain
prostitution laws, service providers from that profession may work from
an established commercial location. Of course, if this is upheld and
spreads to other provinces, they will need governmental permission if
their choose to re-arrange the furniture in a building located in
Quebec, unless they are members of a union and seniority rules prevail.
Then they might be free to re-arrange the furniture in the rooms and
change the pictures on the walls.