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Bonnyville Chamber Issues Call to Action on Potential Benefit Tax

With the Canadian Government considering taxing health and dental benefits, the Bonnyville & District Chamber of Commerce has put out a call to action to nip the idea at the bud.

“The Liberals are doing a review of different tax benefits and looking at how they can modify things,” says Executive Director Andrea Yaremie. “And so the Liberal government is considering taxing private health and dental plans so they could raise funds. However, the implication of taxing private health and dental benefits would have an extreme effect on individuals on those plans. There’s a pretty big potential risk here.”

A release from the Chamber adds that many employers will no longer provide coverage to employees as well. “When a similar tax was introduced in Quebec, 20% of employers dropped health and dental benefits for employees,” the release says. “Studies suggest the removal of this tax benefit across the board could result in a decrease of 50% of small firms who will be able to offer health benefits.”

Yaremie does have some hope however, as it is still very much early going. “They’re very much doing a review at this point. They’re not saying they’re going to do it, but they are considering the potential of what that would look like. That’s why we’re sending the call out now, because we want to make it clear to the Minister of Finance that this is not a good thing.

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“You can look at it both ways, from an employee and employer point of view. For an employee, many that are on a private plan are able to get so many services that are preventative healthcare, which then decreases the strain on the public healthcare system. If we don’t have all these people on their benefits then all that strain goes on the public system. Things are going to get a lot worse too. You’re going to wind up with someone has much further advanced issues because they’re not taking that preventative cares initially.

“I know if we look from an employer’s side of things, that’s one of the great benefits you can give to your employees or attract people to work for you is that you do have a benefit plan. Lots of times there’s shared costs between the employer and employee but still, the impact would be outrageous and the potential’s there for businesses – particularly our small businesses – to say ‘This just isn’t worth it we can’t afford it anymore’ and that’s going to have a very negative impact on both the employer and the employee.”

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has developed a template email here for to send to the Federal Minister of Finance as well as Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs ,whose emails are:  [email protected] and [email protected].

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