Is tax fairness fair?

It is difficult to turn on the news these days without hearing yet another media story about the United States administration.

Even the most trivial of presidential social media stories have become almost daily features during prime time news coverage of many Canadian news agencies. I mention this because all too often, important Canadian events are being overlooked or ignored at the expense of U.S. political coverage.
Why is this a concern?

In Ottawa, at the moment, the Trudeau Liberal government is pursuing a new direction they refer to as “tax fairness” for Canadians. The Liberals enjoy using buzzwords like tax fairness.

This phrase is cover for the fact that they are really proposing to seriously increase the amount of tax certain groups of society will send to Ottawa. This is the Liberal plan to deal with their problem of massively increased deficit spending.
Why should you care?

One of the groups that will be most seriously adversely impacted by these proposed tax changes is Canadian doctors.

First, let me pass on some background information. 
Doctors often operate like a small business. They pay rent, hire and pay staff, obtain insurance, cover monthly utility expenses, purchase medical equipment and supplies along with paying a host of other expenses.

As a result of operating much like a small business, doctors often incorporate as there are tax advantages to incorporation.
What are some of those tax advantages?

For starters, business income is taxed at a lower rate than personal income. However, it should be pointed out that when doctors pay themselves a wage out of the net corporate after tax income, they are taxed again on that income at the same personal income tax rates as any other Canadian.

Incorporation also provides other advantages in that family members can also be employed, not unlike any other small business.

This can help increase overall household income at a lower potential personal income tax rate. On the surface, this is why the Liberal government asks if it's fair to allow professionals such as doctors to benefit from these taxation benefits.  
However, there is another side to this discussion that is overlooked.

Doctors are not eligible for many of the same benefits as many working Canadians. There is no lucrative public sector pension plan for doctors even though they work entirely within the public sector in most cases.

Likewise employment insurance, maternity benefits, disability coverage and more, is not provided to doctors. Coverage for these critically needed benefits must be provided and paid for by the doctors themselves. 

In many cases, this is why doctors will leave residual funds within the corporate framework. This allows them to access some of these benefits, maternity leave being but one example.

Keep in mind when doctors are away for any reason, they suffer a loss of income or have to cover the costs of replacement coverage, all while monthly operating expenses remain in place.
If these “tax fairness” changes are pushed through by the Trudeau Liberal government, they will seriously impact doctors along with many other professionals all across Canada.

While the potential outcome of these impacts is unknown given the already short supply of family doctors, it is highly unlikely these tax changes will help with much needed recruitment and retention.  
My question this week:

  • Do you support the status quo of the current taxation policy with professionals such as doctors or do you believe a tax increase would create more "tax fairness"?

I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call 1-800-665-8711 toll free.

More Dan in Ottawa articles

About the Author

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola which include the communities of Kelowna (specific boundaries), West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton and Merritt.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best. For his work on child safety and awareness, Dan was the recipient Penticton’s ‘2005 Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ award. Dan served as campaign chair for the United Way of the South Okanagan-Similkameen in 2006-7 and 2010-11, both times surpassing their fundraising goals.

On June 28 of 2012 Dan became one of the first MP’s in recent history to have a Private Members Bill (Bill 311) C-311 become law with the unanimous all party support of both the House of Commons and the Canadian Senate.  Bill C-311 “An Act to amend the importation of intoxicating liquors Act” amended a prohibition era law to prevented the free trade of wine over provincial borders.

Dan’s parliamentary record includes being recognized by the Ottawa Citizen in 2015 as one of only five Members of Parliament in Canada with a 100% voting attendance record.  Locally in British Columbia,  MP Dan Albas has been consistently one of the lowest spending Members of Parliament on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

 MP Dan Albas is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top ten most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

In October of 2015 MP Dan Albas was re-elected to Parliament representing the new riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola.  Dan is currently the Deputy Finance Critic, serving with Finance Critic, MP Gerard Deltell and sits on the Standing Committee on Finance.

Dan is honoured to serve the residents of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola as their Member of Parliament.

MP Dan Albas welcomes your input, so please contact him by e-mail, phone or mail.

He can be reached at:

Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola's MP office
2562-B Main Street
West Kelowna, B.C. V4T 2N5
Email: dan.albas@parl.gc.ca
Phone toll free: 1.800.665.8711
Fax: 250.707.2153

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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