Canadian Healthcare Association

Canadian Healthcare Association

December 06, 2007 17:39 ET

A Tax System to Enhance the Health of All Canadians, Says CHA

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 6, 2007) - In Halifax, before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance during the Pre-Budget Consultations 2007, CHA spoke on the tax system Canadians need for a prosperous future. CHA offered several recommendations to the Committee on tax issues, the use of unplanned federal surpluses, and the sustainability of Canada's publicly-funded health system.

"First, we must state categorically that contrary to the myths circulating, the Canadian health system is sustainable," CHA President and CEO Sharon Sholzberg-Gray emphasized. Citing CHA's pre-Budget brief, A Framework for the Prosperity, Health and Well-Being of Canadians, Sholzberg-Gray highlighted the latest OECD data from 2005, showing even after the implementation of the 2004 Health Accord increases, that Canada was ranked ninth among OECD countries in total health spending (public and private combined) as a percentage of GDP. Canada's health system compares favorably with the OECD countries to which Canada is usually compared.

CHA directly addressed the Committee's question as to whether tax relief should be broad-based or targeted. Making the link between socio-economic status and health status, CHA noted that a reduction in the tax rate for the lowest income bracket would benefit both the health system and Canadians of all income levels. CHA spoke against targeted tax expenditures, noting that tax credit programs such as transit passes and children's sports programs do not necessarily benefit those who could most use the benefit, as they may not have the salaries that would allow them to use the targeted program in the first place.

CHA highlighted the need to find a balance regarding the use of unplanned federal surpluses. CHA acknowledges the importance of paying down debt with surplus funds, but also recommends that some surplus funds be allocated before the end of the fiscal year for special funds to achieve health and social purposes such as a national Pharmacare program and the Electronic Health Record.

Beyond tax cuts, CHA made several recommendations for where the surplus should be spent:

- More than $6.2 billion over five years for an Electronic Health Record.

- $1 billion over three years for home, community and long-term care.

- A 100% GST rebate for health services.

- A pan-Canadian catastrophic Pharmacare plan.

- An immediate equal per capita CHT transfer for all provinces.

- $5 billion over five years for a Health Infrastructure Capital Fund.

"Surveys show that Canadians still identify health as one of their most important priorities," notes Sholzberg-Gray. "Taxes pay for the health and social services and infrastructure that all Canadians need."

CHA's pre-Budget brief, A Framework for the Prosperity, Health and Well-Being of Canadians, is available at

Contact Information

  • Teresa Neuman
    Communications Specialist
    613-241-8005, ext. 205