Politics (featured)

How Proposed Tax Changes Could Impact Canadians

Oct 20, 2017

By Laveza Khan

On Monday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau has announced a drop in the small business tax rate from 10.5 percent to nine per cent by 2019. While this news may not entirely assure all Canadians that these tax changes are fair and beneficial, some are relieved to hear news of progress after several weeks of protesting a review of the proposed tax changes.

In mid-July, Morneau announced the proposed changes to regulations related to the taxation structure for Canadians who are using small business corporations as a method of tax planning.  The announcement was hard for many lawyers, small business owners, doctors, and farmers to accept. Canadians were given 75 days to engage in a consultation period on the proposed changes.

While the government believes that these changes to the tax plan will ensure that the system is fair to all, many strongly disagreed. Since July’s announcement, we have seen a significant rise in the number of petitions created that aim to push back. Tens of thousands of people are mobilizing because they believe the changes will hurt Canadians, whether they’re doctors, entrepreneurs, lawyers, small business owners, patients or customers.

I had the opportunity to connect with two different petition starters to get insight into these causes.

  • Setareh from Ottawa is part of a group of Canadian female physicians who have been urging officials to reconsider the proposed changes.
  • Jordan from Edmonton started a petition because he felt the tax reforms would punish business owners who help to create jobs.

They’ve taken some time to share the potential impact of the proposals on their lives as well as those around them.

  1. How would you describe the proposed tax changes?

Setareh: “They are unfair on paper and in life.” The proposed tax changes make physicians feel unappreciated for all the time and money they’ve invested to help others.  

Jordan: “Class politics” — these tax changes are a method of putting politics ahead of economics as well at the well-being of Canadians. These changes will hurt many of the people that the government believes will benefit from these changes.  

  1. Why did you decide to start a petition?

Setareh: I honestly started a petition because I felt that what was happening was unjust. “The only thing I had the power to do was start this petition.”

Jordan: I wanted to voice the frustration and express my concern for prosperity of all Canadians. I am especially concerned for small business owners because the burden of these changes will be disproportionately felt by them.

  1. What do you hope this campaign will achieve?

Setareh: I hope this campaign draws attention to how these changes will affect female physicians. These changes are going to shift everything that professional women are working towards — that ladder we just started climbing, we won’t be able climb it further and we will have to  reassess our careers, our decisions and our freedom to pursue our goals.

Jordan: I hope to get enough signatures that the government reassess its decision to implement these changes. There are many petitions started and the signatures and impact combined are powerful enough to get the message across that the government should stop with the proposed changes.

  1. Who do you think will feel the impact if these tax changes are implemented?

Setareh: Two groups specifically will feel the impact. The first one being patients, at least 20 per cent of patients have vocalized concerns regarding the tax changes, and the effects on the system. The health care system will have a major shift in the next two years — the system will fall apart. The second group is our children. These changes will make it more difficult for us to spend quality time with our families.  We will have to choose between our careers and our families, even more so than we do already.

Jordan: All Canadians will over time, especially those who comprise low and middle class. A significant number of Canadians work for small business and most small business owners are not able to keep themselves afloat.

  1. What would you say to someone who thinks these tax reforms won’t affect them?

Setareh: If they’ve ever needed health care then they will be impacted by these changes. The trickle down effect will be felt by every single Canadian. That is not an exaggeration.

Jordan: That they are naive.

  1. How can others get involved in this campaign?

Setareh: Email, call, meet your local Member of Parliament and tell your story to your representative!

Jordan: Given that the consultation period is over, it is important to write letters to your Members of Parliament to try and influence change.

Check out this page to see other petitions started on the proposed tax changes.

Laveza Khan is a Canadian Outreach Specialist on the Campaigns team at Change.org.