Another Liberal tax grab?

Social media allows citizens to share comments, questions and concerns with elected officials in real time that can quickly demonstrate a trend.

As an example, early this week, my social media feed, along with in-person meetings, was filled with outrage over news that if you are an employee who receives a staff discount, that discount would now be considered a taxable benefit by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). 
Public reaction to this change in interpretation from the CRA has been overwhelming angry and strongly opposed.

For small business owners, the thought of attempting to administer the records of documenting staff discounts was another serious concern as was a potential reduction in wages for staff that might use a staff discount.
Fortunately, there may be some positive news on this matter.

National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier has indicated that this change on interpretation of the tax code is not one the minister authorized.  It has been further reported that the minister has instructed the CRA to remove this interpretation from the CRA website.

In Ottawa circles, this is often referred to as “the minister throwing the department under the bus."

From my perspective, it seems clear the minister recognized the outrage of this decision and has acted quickly to attempt to mitigate this change to the tax code.
Currently, this interpretation of the tax code is said to be officially under review while CRA consults with stakeholders.

Unfortunately, this does not necessarily mean that the CRA may not again attempt to implement a similar tax grab targeted against workers who receive a staff discount.
Given that many workers are in occupations that may not involve a staff discount, I would like to hear your views on this subject.

  • Would you support a staff discount being considered a taxable benefit or do you prefer the status quo where discounts are left alone by the CRA?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

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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: [email protected]
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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