Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Ontario Chamber of Commerce

October 04, 2009 20:26 ET

Chambers Across Canada Endorse National Harmonization of Sales Taxes

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 4, 2009) - Members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce have signalled overwhelming endorsement of the harmonization of provincial sales taxes in Canada with the federal GST.

At the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) in Victoria, British Columbia, delegates representing 258 chambers of commerce and boards of trade from across the country have called on the federal government to redouble its efforts to persuade all remaining provinces in Canada to harmonize their provincial sales taxes with the federal GST.

"The policy adopted today by the CCC shows the broad support of businesses of all sizes and sectors from every province in the country, for a single, value-added tax system, mirroring the GST as a way to make businesses more competitive," says Len Crispino, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, "and reaffirms the position taken by the Ontario chamber network and our partners in the Smart Taxation Alliance."

The resolution was brought forward by the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce at the CCC's annual policy convention. Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island are the only provinces that have declined to harmonize their retail sales taxes with the federal GST. Ontario and B.C. announced earlier this year that they will join Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland in harmonizing their sales taxes.

The harmonization of sales taxes in Ontario in conjunction with other tax reforms, will make Ontario a more attractive place to do business and will save jobs. It will cut the marginal effective tax rate on new investment in half, remove about $5 billion dollars of embedded taxes out of the supply chain, and enable businesses to obtain input tax credits on all sales tax paid in the production of their products and services, making Ontario products more competitive, both for internal and external markets.

Support for a value-added tax system was a common theme at the policy debates. Among the resolutions relating to sales taxes, delegates called on the federal government to:

- Provide transitional financial assistance to remaining provinces to help them switch to the value-added tax system;

- Index the thresholds for the GST New Housing Rebate to the New House Price Index to protect housing affordability across Canada; and,

- Increase the sales volume threshold for small businesses at which they may opt out from collecting GST/HST from $30,000 to $75,000, indexed in future to the annual rate of inflation.

A total of 58 resolutions were debated at the annual policy convention on topics such as environment, industry, transport and infrastructure, international affairs, social policy and finance and taxation.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is a federation of 160 local chambers of commerce and boards of trade in the Province of Ontario, representing 60,000 businesses of all sizes, in all economic sectors and from every area of the province. In its mandate to advocate strong policies on issues affecting its members, the OCC is currently focused on economic renewal and business competitiveness. Its over-arching goal is to make Ontario the most competitive jurisdiction in North America.

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