VICTORIA – (November 7, 2018) Following passage of legislation that will enact the controversial Employer Health Tax, finance critics Shirley Bond and Tracy Redies are warning the government that its decision to charge EHT on top of MSP premiums throughout 2019 will deliver a devastating blow to employers who already cover MSP on behalf of their employees.
“Since the EHT was first announced in the 2018 provincial budget, MLAs have been inundated with calls from small and medium sized business owners who object to the government double-dipping by charging for the MSP and the EHT at the same time,” said Bond. “Their own taskforce on MSP replacement specifically told the government to not burden employers with both taxes simultaneously. Yet the finance minister is plowing ahead anyway despite the taskforce’s advice and business owners who see this as fundamentally unfair.”
“Coming in 2019, the EHT alone will place a huge tax burden on any business owner in the province,” said Redies. “While not all companies currently cover MSP premiums on behalf of their employees, companies with payrolls over $500,000 will be compelled to pay EHT in the new year. This will add overhead that many business owners say is unaffordable and may result in layoffs. I am particularly concerned any company with a payroll that starts to approach the $500,000 benchmark will face difficult decisions in the future.”
A recent survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business revealed that 75 per cent of members in B.C. want the government to fully eliminate MSP premiums before the EHT comes into effect.