Ontario’s Harmonized Sales Tax has to go…

22 09 2009

Living in Ontario is going to get more expensive in a few months. For people like me, perhaps too expensive.

If the Ontario government has their way (and unlike the minority federal government, the Liberal majority at Queens Park likely will), a new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) will go into effect next June, combining the 5% federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Ontario’s 8% Provincial Sales Tax (PST). As a result, a number of items that were previously exempt from the PST, like gasoline and hydro, will be charged the full 13% tax, instead of the 5% being charged now.

In this economic climate, this is definitely the wrong time to levy a new tax on Ontarians, especially those who are no position to be able to afford it: those like myself, who are on a fixed income (Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program, Canada Pension Plan, for example).

I’ve been on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) since 2007 due to the illness that has put me in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. The amount I get from ODSP barely allows me to make ends meet, and certainly does not permit me to go out and do things that make life worth living.

But the HST is going to put even the meager existence we have in jeopardy, because among other things, my heating bill, the cost of my internet services, and I’m sure at least indirectly, my overall grocery bill, are going to increase by 8% each, and I won’t be able to afford it.

Yes, the government has announced rebate cheques to help “ease the pain” of the new tax. But these cheques will only delay the hardship Ontarians will have to endure thanks to the HST. Plus, there’s no word on whether those like me will even be eligible for those cheques.

And because there are no plans by either the federal or provincial governments to try to help by increasing our benefits, we will end up having to spend more money just for the basics, and instead of being able to live our lives, we’ll be in a struggle just to survive! We’re already well below the poverty line as it is, and it’s going to be even worse when the HST goes into effect.

Enough is enough! This Harmonized Sales Tax has to be stopped!

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3 responses

14 10 2009
George Keeming

Although this HST will cause some short-term hardship during the transition period. There are a number of measures aimed at helping people with low-incomes.

First, as you mentioned there are transition cheques of $300 – $1000 in the first year. Second there are permanent income tax cuts for 93% Ontarians. As part of this 90,000 low-income earners will no longer have to pay personal income tax.

The experience in the Atlantic Provinces shows that cost savings to businesses were passed down to consumers. A recent report by TD Bank states that this will be the situation in Ontario as well.

The HST will help get people back to work and improve Ontario’s economy – something that will benefit all of us.

14 10 2009
Jim Todd

That’s not the point for me, George. I’m on a fixed income, namely ODSP (due to an illness that has put me in a wheelchair for life), and that income, such as it is, isn’t taxed to begin with. But with this new HST causing the cost of many things to go up, and as far as I know, no concurrent increase in the ODSP benefit to take that into account, I’ll be paying more than I am now for the things I need to make life livable. I don’t even know if Ontarians on ODSP like me will be even eligible for the transition cheques, and if my ODSP benefit level remains the same, my ability to make ends meet (which I can barely do now) will be reduced or even eliminated. That’s why I feel that this HST cannot be allowed to go through.

1 02 2010
Bill Childs

Are there no potitions against this tax increase ? Votes are the only wepon we have . That’s all the polititions care abput [ where their pay cheques will come from . ] not the people .

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