Harmonized sales tax

The harmonized sales tax (HST) is a consumption tax in Canada. It is used in provinces where both the federal goods and services tax (GST) and the regional provincial sales tax (PST) have been combined into a single value added sales tax.[1]

Jurisdiction

The HST is in effect in five of the ten Canadian provinces: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island. The HST is collected by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), which remits the appropriate amounts to the participating provinces. The HST may differ across these five provinces, as each province will set its own PST rates within the HST. In provinces and territories which have not enacted the HST, the CRA collects only the 5% goods and services tax. The current rates are as follows:

Province HST Rate (%)
New Brunswick 15
Newfoundland and Labrador 15
Nova Scotia 15
Ontario 13
Prince Edward Island 15

The introduction of the HST changed the PST for these provinces from a cascading tax system, which has been abandoned by most economies throughout the world,[2][3] to a value-added tax like the GST.

Individual HST credit

To help maintain revenue neutrality of total taxes on individuals, the Canadian government (for the GST) and the participating provincial governments have accompanied the change from a cascading tax to a value-add tax with a reduction in income taxes, and instituted direct transfer payments (refundable tax credits) to lower-income groups.[4][5] The federal government provides a refundable "GST Credit" of up to $248 per adult and $130 per child to low income people for 2009-10.[6] Provinces offer similar adjustments, such as Newfoundland and Labrador providing a refundable tax credit of up to $40 per adult and $60 for each child.

1997 implementation

In 1996, three of the four Atlantic provinces — New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia — entered into an agreement with the Government of Canada to implement what was initially termed the "blended sales tax" (renamed to "harmonized sales tax") which would combine the 7% federal GST with the provincial sales taxes of those provinces; as part of this project, the PST portion of the new HST in these provinces dropped from 10% to 8%. The result was a 15% combined tax when the federal GST was added. The new tax for these provinces went into effect on 1 April 1997.

The HST is collected by the Canada Revenue Agency, which then remits the appropriate amounts to the participating provinces. Subsequent studies have been equivocal as to the success of this implementation for these provinces' economies and their consumers.[7]

2006 and 2008 GST reductions

On 1 July 2006, the Government of Canada reduced the GST nationwide to 6%,[8] resulting in a combined HST for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador of 14%. The GST was again lowered nationwide on 1 January 2008 to its current rate of 5%,[9] resulting in a combined HST in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador of 13%.

2010 HST increase in Nova Scotia

On 6 April 2010, the Government of Nova Scotia raised the provincial portion of the HST to 10%, restoring the overall rate in that province to 15% effective 1 July 2010 as part of deficit fighting measures.[10] On 2 April 2012 the premier indicated that the provincial government was planning to decrease the HST back to 13% by 2015[11] but this has since been canceled by a new government.[12]

2010 implementation

The Government of Canada's 2008 federal budget called sales tax harmonization "the single most important step provinces with retail sales taxes could take to improve the competitiveness of Canadian businesses" and federal finance officials began to pressure/entice non-HST provinces to abandon their PST systems.[13]

Consequently, in 2008 and 2009 the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia entered into negotiations with the Government of Canada for adopting the HST.

On March 26, 2009 in its annual budget, the province of Ontario announced its intention to merge the PST and GST to take effect on July 1, 2010.[14]

On 1 July 2010 the HST was implemented in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, despite public opinion polls showing that 82% of British Columbians and 74% of Ontarians opposed it[15] before it was implemented. The implementation of HST in British Columbia and Ontario replaced the separate GST and PST charged on goods and services in those provinces.[3][16] Evidence from numerous studies demonstrated that tax harmonization raises business investment and that PST-type taxes slowed provincial economic growth.[2] British Columbia combined the 5% GST with a 7% PST and implemented the HST at a rate of 12% and committed to lowering the HST by two further points, to 10%, by 2014.[17] Ontario’s HST rate is 13%, similar to New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Ontario committed to provide a refundable tax credit of up to $260 per adult or child in 2010-11 to low income people,[18] and British Columbia committed to provide a refundable tax credit of up to $230 per adult or child in 2010-11.[19] Federal and provincial tax credits are paid quarterly through the year. British Columbia also provided a one-time transition payment of $175 to low and modest income seniors as well as $175 for each child under 18 to every family with children.[19] British Columbia’s low income credit was mailed out to 1.1 million British Columbians every three months and amounted to up to $230 annually per individual.

On 4 May 2011, an independent panel commissioned by the British Columbia government released a report on the impact of the HST in that province. The report concluded that "Unless you are among the 15 per cent of families with an income under $10,000 a year, you’re paying more sales tax under the HST than you would under the PST/GST: On average about $350 per family."[20] The report also predicted that by 2020, the HST is anticipated to result in a BC economy that will "Be $2.5 billion larger than it would be under the PST. That’s about $480 per person or $830 per family."[20] British Columbia residents voted in a referendum in August 2011 to repeal the HST, resulting in the province reverting to the former PST/GST model, with rates of 7% and 5% respectively, on 1 April 2013.

Reception in British Columbia and Ontario

A study, conducted by the CD Howe Institute before announcements to exempt low value purchases, found B.C. and Ontario's HST likely revenue neutral.[2] A separate report from the Roger Martin task force on the economy found the HST would lower taxes overall as "increased revenue from the harmonized sales tax is matched by reductions in corporate and personal taxes and by tax credits. The effect is revenue loss." The Globe and Mail reporting on the study found that the "Ontario government will actually lose revenue."[21] In a report by researcher David Murrell for the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, the net impact of the tax was expected to be "modestly progressive" for the poorest households to upper-middle-income families while increasing taxes by $320 in British Columbia and $290 in Ontario.[22][23]

Public opinion however holds negative feelings towards the HST with an Ipsos Reid poll showing vast majority of British Columbians (82%) and Ontarians (74%) oppose their provincial government’s plans to harmonize the sales tax.[15] Only 39% of the public believes the HST would be beneficial for businesses whereas the Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress found costs will decrease for small business as they recover sales taxes they have to pay on goods and services they purchase and will lower their administrative costs.[24] Additionally, only 10% of the public agree that the move will help to create more jobs. A study by Jack Mintz of the University of Calgary School of Public Policy found that the HST and a drop in the corporate tax rate will create almost 600,000 new jobs over the next ten years.[25]

Rejection in British Columbia

The introduction of HST in British Columbia was extremely unpopular, due to its perception as a "tax hike" and the fact that Premier Gordon Campbell had denied any plans to implement the HST before the 2009 election, only to introduce it anyway shortly after winning a majority government.

Former British Columbia Premier Bill Vander Zalm launched a petition against the HST in response to the public outrage. On August 11, 2010, Elections BC informed him[26] that the campaign had succeeded in collecting the signatures of more than 10% of registered voters in each of the province's 85 ridings by 5 July 2010.[27] The success of the petition could require the provincial government to hold a referendum on the tax. Elections BC was expected to make a formal announcement but they declined to do so and chose not to move forward in the process until the courts decided on a case, brought by local business groups, challenging the petition.[26] On Monday, July 5, 2010, Bill Vander Zalm, Chis Delaney and Bill Tieleman announced that they had launched their own lawsuit, a constitutional challenge against the HST because it was never passed into law by the British Columbia's provincial legislature.[28] On August 20, 2010, Chief Justice Robert J. Bauman ruled a petition opposing British Columbia's controversial harmonized sales tax was valid. This decision sent the issue back to the provincial legislature. Bauman said Elections BC was correct when it approved the petition on August 11.[29]

The approval of the petition to recall the HST in British Columbia paved the way for a referendum that allowed British Columbians to decide the fate of the tax system. Elections BC conducted the referendum via mail-in ballot, allowing registered voters to send in their decision in regards to the HST. The British Columbia sales tax referendum, 2011 was conducted throughout June and July 2011. In an attempt to appease public anger, the government pledged the referendum would be binding and that they would abide by the will of the people. The Question on the ballot was: "Are you in favour of extinguishing the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) and reinstating the PST (Provincial Sales Tax) in conjunction with the GST (Goods and Services Tax)? Yes or No"[30]

In November 2010, Gordon Campbell resigned as Premier, noting that his own unpopularity had effectively stopped the government from moving forward with its agenda and made real discussion about the HST impossible.[31] He was replaced by Christy Clark.

The ruling BC Liberals had campaigned in favour of the HST since its introduction the previous year, noting it would be too costly to return to the original GST/PST system; they pointed to the money they would have to pay back to Ottawa, the lost tax revenue, and the amount it would cost taxpayers to have to switch back and forth between tax systems. In April 2011, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark announced a province-wide engagement initiative to listen to British Columbians' suggestions to "fix" the HST.[32]

Faced with plummeting support and the ongoing anger against the HST, in May 2011 Minister of Finance Kevin Falcon announced that if British Columbians vote to keep the HST the rate will drop by 1% on July 1, 2012 and another point in 2014. This will bring the overall rate to 10%. The provincial government also committed to mailing onetime transition payments of $175 per child to families with children and $175 for low and middle income seniors.[17] A month later, the federal government passed legislation to "formalize and give legal force to the reductions in the rate of the provincial component of the HST in British Columbia".[33]

On August 26, 2011, the results of the referendum were revealed by Elections BC, with 55% of 1.6 million voters in favour of abolishing the HST. The BC Liberals revealed a plan to reinstate the GST/PST system within 18 months, with a target date of March 31, 2013.[34] As a direct result, British Columbia will have to pay back $1.6 billion to the federal government in order to opt out of the HST program.[35]

On April 1, 2013, British Columbia abandoned the HST and reverted to the GST/PST system.[36]

Other provinces

Despite the benefits advocated by those in favour of moving from a cascading tax to a value added tax,[16][37][38] in some places it has shown to be unpopular with the general public. The 2011 British Columbia sales tax referendum rejected the HST in favour of reverting to the GST/PST system, and led to the resignation of Premier Gordon Campbell.[39]

2013 implementation

In the provincial budget released 18 April 2012, the Government of Prince Edward Island announced plans to introduce a 14% HST to be implemented on 1 April 2013. This would reduce Prince Edward Island's provincial sales tax component from 10% to 9%. It should be noted that the Government of Prince Edward Island was unique amongst Canadian provinces in that it "taxed the GST". Since the implementation of the federal GST in 1990, PEI's 10% PST has been charged on the subtotal of goods which included the federal GST; PST was not charged on services. This resulted in a combined tax of 17.7% for goods purchased before the 7% GST was reduced to 6% and then 5% in 2006 and 2008 respectively. As of 2012, consumers in PEI paid a combined 15.5% tax rate (5% GST and 10% PST applied to the subtotal). The provincial government committed to exempting some items while critics noted that electricity would see an increase from 5% GST to 14% HST; prior to the HST, electricity was not taxed by the PST.

The HST was introduced to Prince Edward Island on 1 April 2013 which dropped the tax on goods to 14% from 15.5% and raised the tax on services from 5% (GST) to 14%.[40]

Affected items

  • In Ontario, the HST increased tax on gasoline and diesel from 5% to 13%.[41]
  • In British Columbia, the HST applied on motor fuel and diesel but the 7% provincial portion was refunded at the point of sale, meaning the effective tax would remain at 5%, the rate of the GST.[19]
  • PST was only applicable to goods, whereas HST is generally applicable to both goods and services. Service items from haircuts to carpet cleaning that previously include only the five per cent GST saw an increase in costs.[42] However, in Ontario the PST portion of the HST will be exempt on newspapers and fast food items not exceeding $4 per purchase.[14]
  • In Ontario, a rebate compensating for the HST leaves the first $400,000 of a new home purchase unaffected whereas the portion of a home above $400,000 will be charged the full HST. However, buyers of new homes can receive a rebate of up to $24,000 regardless of the price of the new home.[43][44] The CRA has been actively reassessing many purchasers of newly constructed homes in Ontario and disallowing their claim for the HST New Housing Rebate.[45][46]
  • There is also an HST Rebate in Ontario for rental properties called the HST New Residential Rental Rebate which provides up to a $24,000 HST rebate on the purchase of a new residential complex that is first used as a rental property.[47][48]
  • For Ontarians HST is not charged on the resale of an existing home, however renovations are taxable.
  • Ontarians are paying more for management and other fees associated with investment funds, such as: mutual funds, segregated funds and ETFs.

Exemptions

  • Most provinces under HST exempt books from the tax, either through an outright exemption, or through a point-of-sale rebate.
  • Nova Scotia exempts residential heating sources from HST, such as fuel oil, electricity used for residential heating, fire wood, and wood pellets.
  • Ontario exempts HST from being charged to household goods such as children's clothing and shoes, books, car seats, diapers and feminine hygiene products.[49] British Columbia did the same thing before reverting to PST/GST.
  • British Columbia exempted HST for public transit fares, BC Ferries tickets, bridge and road tolls.[19]
  • In Ontario, First Nations status card holders are exempt from the provincial part of the HST for eligible off-reserve purchases. This exemption is in addition to the relief provided to First Nations under the GST/HST framework, such as for purchases on a reserve or delivered to a reserve.[50]
  • Prince Edward Island exempts residential fuel oil used for heating, as well as some clothing, books and personal care items.

See also

References

  1. ^ "What is HST?". Canada Revenue Agency. Archived from the original on 2012-02-18. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  2. ^ a b c Harmonized tax badly needed and likely revenue-neutral C.D. Howe Institute Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Coyle: Despite Tory roars, HST here to stay The Toronto Star
  4. ^ The HST: Overcoming fears and misconceptions, Vancouver Sun August 31, 2009 http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/print.aspx?postid=491641
  5. ^ Not a Tax Grab After All, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/reports/docs/Not_a_Tax_Grab_After_All.pdf
  6. ^ Canada Revenue Agency, GST/HST Credit Guide
  7. ^ "The Effect of the Harmonized Sales Tax on Consumer Prices in Atlantic Canada" (PDF). Canadian Public Policy, Vol XXVI, No. 4 2000. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  8. ^ "Helping Individuals and Families". 2006 Budget. Department of Finance Canada. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  9. ^ Ferguson, Rob (2008-01-01). "One last trim: 5% GST kicks in". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  10. ^ HST increased
  11. ^ Dexter to cut HST back to 13% by 2015
  12. ^ Nova Scotia's budget - by the numbers
  13. ^ Silver, Robert (2009-09-16). "Harper's HST revisionism". Toronto: The Globe and Mail.
  14. ^ a b "2009 Ontario Budget". Ontario Ministry of Finance. 2009-03-26. Archived from the original on 2009-03-28. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  15. ^ a b Poll: 90% in B.C. and Ontario say HST is a government tax grab Vancouverite News Service Archived 2009-12-07 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ a b The road to create a single tax in Ontario Canwest News Service
  17. ^ a b "HST legislated at 10 per cent". 100 Mile Free Press. 2011-05-08.
  18. ^ Ontario Ministry of Revenue, Ontario Sales Tax Credit
  19. ^ a b c d BC Government HST Blog Archived 2010-05-11 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ a b [1]
  21. ^ 10 simple HST myths The Globe and Mail
  22. ^ Bostelaar, Robert (2010-08-19). "Taxpayers will see costs from HST, says think tank". The Vancouver Sun.
  23. ^ Murrell, David (2010-08-25). "Impact of HST on Ontario and British Columbia households by income Quintiles". Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Archived from the original on 2011-08-07.
  24. ^ Task Force Releases Eighth Annual Report Roger L. Martin, Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress Archived 2009-12-06 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Ontario's bold move to create jobs and growth Jack Mintz, The School of Public Policy
  26. ^ a b Shreck, David (2010-08-11). "Elections BC's Bizarre Decision on HST". The Tyee.
  27. ^ "Vander Zalm's anti-HST petition hits Vancouver". CBC News. 2010-04-06.
  28. ^ "Anti-HST team launches constitutional challenge". CBC News. 2010-07-05.
  29. ^ HST petition can proceed, B.C. judge rules. BCTV News. Retrieved Aug20,2010.
  30. ^ "Elections BC HST Referendum Homepage". Archived from the original on 2011-08-18.
  31. ^ Hunter, Justine. "Campbell's stunning resignation leaves fate of party, HST up in the air". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  32. ^ "British Columbia government launches public consultation process for HST". Journal of Commerce. 2011-04-20.
  33. ^ "Feds amend law to allow B.C. to cut HST by 2 per cent". Global TV. 2011-06-09.
  34. ^ Bailey, Ian (2011-08-26). "B.C. rejects HST in landmark referendum". The Globe and Mail. Toronto.
  35. ^ "Ottawa to Give BC Extension on HST Repayment". HSTinCanada.com. 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  36. ^ "Changes to Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)". Canada Revenue Agency. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  37. ^ Smart money is on Manitoba getting HST Winnipeg Free Press
  38. ^ Ontario passes HST legislation National Post Archived 2009-12-12 at Archive.today
  39. ^ British Columbians kill the HST with 54-per-cent referendum vote
  40. ^ "P.E.I. to introduce HST by next April". The Canadian Press. 2012-04-19. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  41. ^ What's Taxable Under the HST and What's Not?, Ministry of Revenue. Accessed May 28, 2010.
  42. ^ B.C. to harmonize provincial sales tax and GST CTV News Archived 2009-08-20 at the Wayback Machine
  43. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2009-12-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  44. ^ http://www.taxchambers.ca/practice-areas/commodity-tax/federal-tax/hst-rebate/
  45. ^ http://www.taxchambers.ca/ontario-hst-new-housing-rebate/
  46. ^ http://www.taxchambers.ca/hst-new-housing-rebate/
  47. ^ http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/gp/rc4231/
  48. ^ http://www.taxchambers.ca/hst-new-housing-rebate-rental-property-v-primary-place-residence/
  49. ^ Ontario strikes populist note to soften the HST blow The Globe and Mail
  50. ^ Point-of-Sale Exemption for First Nations, Ministry of Revenue. Accessed February 3, 2011.

External links

1998 Nova Scotia general election

The 34th Nova Scotia general election was held on March 24, 1998 to elect members of the 57th House of Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia, Canada. The Liberal party and the New Democratic Party tied in the seat count, with 19 each, while the Progressive Conservatives won 14 seats. The Liberals went on to form a minority government with the support of the Progressive Conservatives.

2011 British Columbia sales tax referendum

A referendum on sales tax was held by postal ballot in British Columbia from June 13 to August 5, 2011, though Canada Post workers were locked out until June 27. Voters were asked whether the Harmonized Sales Tax should be retained or split back to the original Provincial Sales Tax (PST) and Goods & Services Tax (GST). If the majority of voters voted "Yes" to extinguish the HST, 7% PST would be reinstated and the combined tax rate would remain at 12%. If the majority of voters voted "No", the BC government would reduce the HST rate to 11% in 2012 and 10% in 2014.

The yes side passed with 54.73%.

39th Parliament of British Columbia

The 39th Parliament of British Columbia sat from 2009 to 2013, replacing the 38th parliament and being succeeded by the 40th parliament. It was composed of two elements: the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, as elected by the general election of May 12, 2009, and The Queen represented by the Lieutenant-Governor (Steven Point until 2012, then Judith Guichon). That election resulted in a majority government for the BC Liberal Party led by Gordon Campbell, and a BC New Democratic Party official opposition. Shortly after the election, the government revealed it had been running record high deficits and that it intended to replace the PST and GST system with the Harmonized Sales Tax. The deficit made an amendment to the Balanced Budget and Ministerial Accountability Act necessary for the remainder of the 39th Parliament and resulted in reduced spending in most ministries. A petition against the Harmonized Sales Tax was circulated around the province and resulted in a summer 2011 referendum on the issue. The unpopularity of the move towards HST led to the resignation of Premier Campbell. Separate and independent leadership elections in the two major parties made Christy Clark the new Premier and Adrian Dix the new leader of the opposition. Seven MLAs spent time as independents: Vicki Huntington was elected as an independent, Blair Lekstrom left the BC Liberals in protest of its implementation of the HST, Pat Pimm briefly left the BC Liberals during as he was being investigated for a domestic dispute incident, John Slater withdrew from the BC Liberal Party after they refused to endorse his re-election nomination in 2013, John van Dongen crossed the floor to the BC Conservatives before leaving that party to sit as an independent, and both BC Liberal Bill Bennett and NDP Bob Simpson were removed from their caucuses for criticizing their leaders. Three MLAs were subject of police investigations: Kash Heed for election irregularities, Jane Thornthwaite for drunk driving, and Pat Pimm for a domestic dispute. Two MLAs, both from the BC Liberals, resigned their seats forcing by-elections: Iain Black in Port Moody-Coquitlam and Barry Penner in Chilliwack-Hope.

In addition to the Consumption Tax Rebate and Transition Act which implemented the HST, major new legislation adopted during the 39th Parliament included the Clean Energy Act, which listed and enabled provincial objectives regarding electricity generation and consumption. The Ambulance Services Collective Agreement Act forced the workers at the BC Ambulance Service back to work after a seven-month strike. The Sled Dog Task Force and the Braidwood Inquiry led to legislative amendments, the New West Partnership (Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement) had enabling legislation enacted, and inheritance laws were modernized. The Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park was created, as well as six new parks in the Lillooet region

Allan MacMaster

Allan Gerard MacMaster (born September 26, 1974) is a Canadian politician. He represents the electoral district of Inverness in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party.

Bill Vander Zalm

William Nicholas "Bill" Vander Zalm (born May 29, 1934) is a politician and entrepreneur in British Columbia, Canada. He was the 28th Premier of British Columbia from 1986 to 1991.

Canada Revenue Agency

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA; French: Agence du revenu du Canada; ARC), known as the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency previously and as Revenue Canada before that, is a Canadian federal agency that administers tax laws for the Government of Canada and for most provinces and territories, international trade legislation, and various social and economic benefit and incentive programs delivered through the tax system. It also oversees the registration of charities in Canada, and tax credit programmes such as the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit Program.

Eric Foster (politician)

Eric Foster (born 1949) is a Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, Canada, and a member of the BC Liberal Party. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly from the riding of Vernon-Monashee in the 2009 provincial election. In the 39th Parliament of British Columbia, Foster was not named to Premier Gordon Campbell's cabinet, but he was appointed deputy whip. As a member of the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives which he voted to initiate province-wide referendum concerning the Harmonized Sales Tax. He was also a member of the Special Committee to Review the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and the Select Standing Committee on Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills. Prior to his involvement with provincial politics, Foster served 12 years as municipal councillor and 3 years as mayor of Lumby, British Columbia.

Goods and services tax (Canada)

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) (French: taxe sur les produits et services, TPS) is a multi-level value added tax introduced in Canada on January 1, 1991, by then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and his finance minister Michael Wilson. The GST replaced a hidden 13.5% manufacturers' sales tax (MST); Mulroney claimed the GST was implemented because the MST was hindering the manufacturing sector's ability to export competitively. The introduction of the GST was very controversial. The GST rate is 5%, effective January 1, 2008.

The Goods and Services Tax is defined in law at Part IX of the Excise Tax Act. GST is levied on supplies of goods or services purchased in Canada and includes most products, except certain politically sensitive essentials such as groceries, residential rent, and medical services, and services such as financial services. Businesses that purchase goods and services that are consumed, used or supplied in the course of their "commercial activities" can claim "input tax credits" subject to prescribed documentation requirements (i.e., when they remit to the Canada Revenue Agency the GST they have collected in any given period of time, they are allowed to deduct the amount of GST they paid during that period). This avoids "cascading" (i.e., the application of the GST on the same good or service several times as it passes from business to business on its way to the final consumer). In this way, the tax is essentially borne by the final consumer. This system is not completely effective, as shown by criminals who defrauded the system by claiming GST input credits for non-existent sales by a fictional company. Exported goods are "zero-rated", while individuals with low incomes can receive a GST rebate calculated in conjunction with their income tax.

In 1997, the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland (now Newfoundland and Labrador) and the Government of Canada merged their respective sales taxes into the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). In all Atlantic provinces, the current HST rate is 15%. HST is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency, with revenues divided among participating governments according to a formula. Ontario and British Columbia both harmonized the GST with their provincial sales tax (PST) effective July 1, 2010. However, the British Columbia HST was defeated in an August 2011 mail-in referendum by a 55% majority vote, and was converted to the old GST/PST system effective April 1, 2013. On the same day, Prince Edward Island enacted HST at the rate of 14%. In Ontario, the HST totals 13%, however many of the pre-HST exemptions remain affecting only the provincial portion of the HST (for example, prepared food under $4.00 is not subject to the provincial portion of HST and is only taxed at 5%). On the other hand, some items that were only subjected to the PST are now charged the full HST (i.e., 13%). Although the Government of Ontario has made efforts to provide documentation as to what items are affected and how, this causes some confusion for consumers as they are often not sure what taxes to expect at the checkout. To accommodate these exemptions, many retailers simply display each tax individually as HST 1 and HST 2 (or some variant). The move to HST came about as part of Ontario's 2009 provincial budget. Only three provinces (British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan) continue to impose a separate sales tax at the retail level only. Alberta is the exception, not imposing a provincial sales tax.

The three territories of Canada (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) do not have territorial sales taxes. The government of Quebec administers both the federal GST and the provincial Quebec Sales Tax (QST). It is the only province to administer the federal tax.

John Les

John Les (born 1951 or 1952) is a Canadian politician and former member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for British Columbia.

He has served as Parliamentary Secretary for Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) information, Minister of Small Business and Economic Development and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor-General for the Provincial Government.

Les was a member of the Treasury Board and the Priorities and Planning Committee. He has chaired the Government Caucus, the Legislative Special Committee on the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform and the Select Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs. He was a member of the Government Caucus Committee on Economy and Government Operations, the Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations and the Select Standing Committee on Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills.

Les served as mayor of Chilliwack from 1987 to 1999. Before entering politics, he was a partner in a Chilliwack dairy, a real estate agent and the owner of a land development company. He was elected in the 2001 B.C. election representing the British Columbia Liberal Party in the Chilliwack-Sumas riding. He won re-election in the 2005 B.C. election. He was re-elected in the newly created Chilliwack riding in the 2009 election.On March 28, 2008, John Les resigned from his position as Solicitor General pending the outcome of an investigation over allegations of misconduct during his tenure as Mayor of Chilliwack. A special prosecutor was appointed to look into a land deal that he was alleged to have benefited from.

In June 2010, the investigation was concluded with the special prosecutor stating that while Les was given preferential treatment in the rezoning of one subdivision, there was not enough evidence to suggest that he used his public office directly to advance his personal interest.On August 30, 2012, Les announced that he would not seek re-election as MLA for Chilliwack.

Motor fuel taxes in Canada

In Canada, motor vehicles are primarily powered by gasoline or diesel fuel. Other energy sources include ethanol, biodiesel, propane, compressed natural gas (CNG), electric batteries charged from an external source, and hydrogen. Canada, like most countries, has excise taxes and other taxes on gasoline, diesel, and other liquid and gas motor fuels (collectively called fuel taxes), and also taxes electricity at various administrative levels. Most provinces and territories in Canada also have taxes on these motor fuels, and some metropolitan areas such as Montreal, Greater Vancouver, and Victoria impose additional taxes.

Additionally, Canada's federal (national) government collects value-added tax (GST) across the country, and some provincial governments also collect a provincial sales tax (PST), which may be combined with the GST into a single harmonized sales tax (HST). HST, GST, or GST + PST where applicable, are calculated on the retail price including the excise taxes.Across Canada, motor fuel taxes can vary greatly between locales. On average, about one-third of the total price of gasoline at the pump is tax. Total minimum taxes (taxes before GST/HST/PST is added at the retail level, but including GST/HST/PST on the excise taxes themselves) vary from 17.0¢/litre (64.4¢/US gallon) in the Yukon to 41.01¢/L ($1.552/US gallon) in Greater Vancouver.

Petroleum pricing in Nova Scotia

Petroleum pricing in Nova Scotia is based on the Petroleum Products Pricing Act which governs the wholesale and minimum and maximum price of gasoline and diesel fuels that are authorised in Nova Scotia.

Rob Fleming

Rob Fleming is a Canadian politician who represents the riding of Victoria-Swan Lake in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Fleming was elected the British Columbia New Democratic Party Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the district of Victoria-Hillside in the 2005 British Columbia general election, defeating incumbent British Columbia Liberal Party MLA Sheila Orr. He was re-elected on May 12, 2009 in the renamed constituency of Victoria-Swan Lake. In the 38th Parliament Fleming was the New Democrat critic for Advanced Education, sat on the Select Standing Committee on Education, and introduced two education-related private member bills: the Private Post-Secondary Accountability and Student Protection Act, 2007 and the Restoring Credibility to Universities Act, 2008. He was also assigned to the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts and introduced the Payday Lending Act, 2006 which sought to regulate the conditions of payday loans and led to the government adopting the Business Practices and Consumer Protection (Payday Loans) Amendment Act a year later.

In the 39th Parliament Fleming became the NDP's environment critic. He introduced the Cosmetic Pesticide and Carcinogen Control Act and sat on the subsequent Special Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides which investigated potential bans or regulations on pesticides used for cosmetic purposes. Fleming also introduced the Species at Risk Protection Act, after the government delayed a promise to review its species-at-risk legislation, and the Sustainable Development Indicators and Reporting Act, 2011 which sought to create a Sustainable Development Board to report on provincial sustainability-related indicators. Fleming sat on the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives which considered the petition seeking the repeal of the Harmonized Sales Tax.

In the 40th Parliament Fleming was appointed to be the NDP's education critic. He introduced the private member bill Youth Voter Registration Act that would have allowed provisional voter registration of people between the ages of 16 and 18.

Rob Howard

Rob Howard (born 1954 or 1955) is a Canadian politician who was elected to the 39th Parliament of British Columbia as the Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia from the riding of Richmond Centre. A member of the BC Liberal Party, he replaced retiring BC Liberal Olga Ilich in that riding, by winning the riding in the 2009 provincial election. While his party formed a majority government, Howard was appointed to several committees, including the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts in the first two sessions, and Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services in the third and fourth session.

As chair of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, Howard supported Premier Campbell's efforts at establishing the Harmonized Sales Tax. Following Campbell's resignation, Howard endorsed Kevin Falcon but Christy Clark won the leadership election. Clark made Howard a Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Transportation. In this position he advocated for Open Sky agreements and continued this advocacy in his post-political life by establishing the non-profit organization OpenSkies4Canada. Howard did not seek re-election during the 2013 provincial election and was replaced by BC Liberal Teresa Wat.

Prior to his election to the legislature, Howard worked in property management. He served as a City Councillor in the Richmond, British Columbia for seven years. He was first elected to the Richmond, British Columbia City Council in the October 2001 by-election as a member of the Richmond Non-Partisan Association and was re-elected in the November 2002 and 2005 civic elections as a member of the Richmond First Party. He sat on council as an independent starting in 2006. While on council he advocated in favour of casino expansion, locating the Olympic speed-skating oval in Richmond, and developing a convention centre.

Sales taxes in British Columbia

Sales taxes in British Columbia are consumption taxes levied in the province since the introduction of the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) on 1 July 1948, part of the Social Service Tax Act. Sales in the province have also been subject to the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) since its introduction on 1 January 1991.

On 1 July 2010, the PST and GST were combined into the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) levied according to the provisions of the GST. The conversion to HST was controversial. Popular opposition led to a referendum on the tax system, the first such referendum in the Commonwealth of Nations, resulting in the province reverting to the former PST/GST model on 1 April 2013.

The sales taxes levied in the province are the separate 7% PST and 5% GST, as of April 2013.

Sales taxes in Canada

In Canada, three types of sales taxes are levied. These are as follows:

Provincial sales taxes (PST), levied by the provinces

Goods and Services Tax (GST), a value-added tax levied by the federal government

The combined Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), also a value-added tax, a single, blended combination of the PST and GST which is used in Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. British Columbia adopted HST between 2010 and 2013, but eventually abolished the system after a province-wide referendum. The HST is collected by the Canada Revenue Agency, which then remits the appropriate amounts to the participating provinces.Every province except Alberta has implemented either a provincial sales tax or the Harmonized Sales Tax. The federal GST rate is 5 percent, effective January 1, 2008.

The territories of Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut have no territorial sales taxes, so only the GST is collected. The three northern jurisdictions are heavily subsidized by the federal government, and its residents receive some additional tax concessions due to the high cost of living in the north.

Tax return (Canada)

A Canadian tax return consists of the reporting the sum of the previous year's (January to December) taxable income, tax credits, and other information relating to those two items. The result of filing a return with the federal government can result in either a refund (money owed to the person or corporation filing the return), or an amount due to be paid. There is a penalty for not filing a tax return.Normally, Canadian individual tax returns for any specific year must be filed

by April 30 of the following year. There is no provision for generally extending this deadline, but there are a few exceptions.

Tax returns for self-employed individuals and their spouses must be filed by June 15 of the following year. However, any Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax owing for the period is due April 30.

Tax returns for deceased individuals must be filed by the normal filing deadline or 6 months after the date of death, whichever comes later. Example: Mary dies on January 30, 2004; her 2003 return is due on July 30, 2004 (six months later) and her 2004 return is due on April 30, 2005 (normal filing deadline). This provision is also extended to the surviving spouse.

Tax returns for non-residents electing to file under section 217 are due June 30 of the following year.

By virtue of the Interpretation Act the due date of all individual returns is moved to the next business day when the normal due date falls on a Sunday or Holiday. Although ministerial orders are also used to apply this to Saturday due dates, it is not a legal requirement.

The Federal Finance Minister may extend the deadline in cases of emergency situations such as floods, etc.Canadian federal tax returns are filed with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

In addition, the return plays a role in voter registration by including a checkbox asking if the signee if they are willing to have their personal contact information included on a national voter registry which is accessible by Elections Canada and its provincial equivalents.

Terry Lake

Terry Lake is a former Canadian politician, at the municipal and provincial levels, as well as a veterinary instructor.

Lake was a Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia and a member of the BC Liberal Party. Lake announced September 1, 2016 that he would not seek re-election in 2017.

He was elected to the Legislative Assembly from the riding of Kamloops-North Thompson in the 2009 provincial election. In the 39th Parliament of British Columbia, Lake was not named to Premier Gordon Campbell's cabinet, but he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for the Ranching Task Force and, following that task force's work, Lake was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Health Promotion. Lake also chaired the Sled Dog Task Force. Once Christy Clark became premier she appointed Lake, on March 14, 2011, the Minister of Environment.

Lake gained media attention when he chaired the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives. When the provincial government announced the intention to introduce the Harmonized Sales Tax, a petition against the tax was circulated across the province, gaining the requirement number of signatures to force the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives to either order a referendum on the tax legislation or forward the issue to the Legislative Assembly. Lake's involvement with the HST led to a recall campaign against him in early 2011, but which failed.

Prior to being elected as a MLA, Lake was elected to one term (2005–2008) as mayor of the City of Kamloops and one term (2002–2005) as a councillor of the city. In Kamloops, Lake made priorities of developing a convention centre and expanding the airport. He was also involved is passing citywide vicious dog bylaw and regulations on performances by exotic animals. He served on the executive of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities in 2005 and on the board of BC Transit from 2006 to 2008.

A veterinarian by training, he was an animal health technology instructor at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops from 1997 to 2005. He had an early career in broadcasting, but eventually became a veterinarian. He owned Coquitlam Animal Hospital from 1989 to 1996, before moving to Kamloops with his family. He is a past vice-president and treasurer for the World Small Animal Veterinary Association.

The Big Move

The Big Move is the regional transportation plan (RTP) published by Metrolinx for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) in Ontario, Canada. It makes specific recommendations for transit projects, resulting from seven "green papers" and two "white papers" released for public discussion. A draft RTP was released alongside draft investment strategy in September 2008. After a series of stakeholder consultations and public meetings, the final RTP was approved and published by Metrolinx on November 28, 2008.

Since its publication, it has been Metrolinx's mandate to implement the RTP, which includes new and improved GO Transit service, local rapid transit, stations, and fare payment systems.

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