After advocacy from the Chamber network, including the GNCC and our partners at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Trudeau government has backed down on its deliberations over taxing employer-provided dental and health benefits. We are pleased that the government has heard the concerns of businesses and working people, and not opted for a move that would increase expenses for employers and leave thousands without dental and health benefits.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday that he will not enact a tax on health and dental benefits, after days of refusing to rule out the option.
“We are committed to protecting the middle class from increased taxes and that is why we will not be raising [those] taxes,” he said during question period.
Earlier Wednesday, the Liberals wouldn’t say whether they intended to tax employer-sponsored health and dental benefits as a means to increase revenue while the government runs deficits.
When asked whether Canadians could expect to see that measure in the upcoming budget, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said only that the middle class’s wellbeing and prosperity is top of mind for the government.
Though Trudeau ruled out the option Wednesday in response to a question from interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose, similar questions from her earlier in the week were met with much murkier answers.
“People rely on these [benefits] for prescriptions and much-needed health programs,” Ambrose said earlier this week. “This would leave millions of people potentially without insurance and vulnerable. Is he seriously going to put a tax on the health and dental plans of millions of Canadians?”
Trudeau avoided answering the question directly, saying only the 2017 budget will focus on helping families, and waiting until Wednesday to rule out the option.
His denial Wednesday was met with applause after Ambrose said his decision was “good news” for the middle class.