Earlier this week, I attended an information session on the
proposed federal changes to the tax legislation. Now before you stop reading this I
would recommend you take 120 seconds and invest the time, as the proposed changes could have a
significant impact on the rest of your life.
I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. You may have seen information on the
news or a bunch of financial articles about this and have been wondering what’s
going on. In a nut shell this
is what I learned.
The Liberal government is proposing to make drastic changes to tax
legislation. The last time
this was done was close to 50 years ago and took them 6 years of
tweaking. Now they want to
do the same thing, during tough economic times and have determined instead of 6
years, 75 days will be enough. So
in the middle of July (the middle of everyone’s summer holidays) they went out to the public for input.
That input will be collected until only the end of the month
(September) at which point our Liberal government will push forward with their
proposed changes. The
Liberal government feels there are too many advantages for business owners and
professionals and so they want to tax them more heavily to make the system more
equal and fair. Hypothetically
this seems right.
As an employee I would probably want nothing more. As a business owner myself I know
better. Small to medium business accounts for 60% of the economy in
Alberta. These are the
companies that provide the jobs. To
get into business isn’t easy and you have to take significant risk. Leveraging your personal equity, your
home, your future and your children’s education to get the equity needed to
start your business. You
have to work long hours, doing multiple jobs and sacrifice much of your family
and personal life to make sure your business is successful. For all this risk you get no
pension, retirement plan, financial security what so ever. You get no vacation pay, guaranteed
holidays or sick days. You
don’t get maternity or paternity leave.
If you or your staff make a mistake nobody pays for it, except for
you. There are no medical
benefits and if the business goes under, and you lose your home, there is
nobody to bail you out.
Moving forward the government wants you to continue to take that
risk but wants to take much more of your “reward” if you are successful. From that angle it doesn’t look so
Now if you are not a business person this probably sounds like
millionaires complaining. If
that were the truth, I wouldn’t be writing about it today as I would have so
much money I wouldn’t really care.
What’s most important though is to make sure as an employee you
understand how this affects you. Employees
need jobs…does this plan sounds like it is going to encourage new business
people to take that risk? How
about current business people expanding? How about a better chance for
increased wages and benefits for employees when the government is taking more
of the money away? How
about increased donations for community groups? In reality when businesses are forced
to absorb increased expenses they do two things, either charge the customer more, or cut
expenses. The easiest
expense to target is always people.
To look at this from a different angle, lets talk about health
care. Over 80% of all
physicians in Northern Alberta come from outside of this country. They typically come with over $100,000
in debt for tuition loans. They
have to risk everything to come here. They
are typically not employees of AHS so have to set up their own business and
contract back to the government. They
get little to no time with their families and the cost of living is typically
much higher than where they came from.
They too get no paid vacation, sick days, or parental leave and
now we want to make it more expensive and less attractive to come here. When we have such a huge shortage of
health care professionals this seems like its going to affect my family as much
as my pocket book.
What I agree with is after 50 years making some tweaks is never a
bad idea. Things should
always improve. That being
said, we need to make sure we take the time to think things through to make a
good decision. Hurting
Canada’s economy when we have spent the last two years trying to crawl out of a
hole doesn’t make sense to me. How
can you help? At most,
write a letter to your MP voicing your concerns.
If you don’t want to write a letter, contact the Slave Lake Chamber
of Commerce and they have one ready for you. At the very least, sign one of the
online petitions urging the government to take some more time to come up with a
This effort takes time, so it’s easier to just read onto something
else. What I hope though is
after reading this you understand that your family’s future is worth five
minutes of your time.
Download two prepared letters to send to your Member of Parliament:
Letter #1 Letter #2
There are some Online E-Petitions currently collecting signatures:
One Sponsored by Conservative MP Lisa Raitt of Milton
Another Sponsored by Conservative MP Michelle Rempel of Calgary Nose Hill