Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ottawa to cut GST, HST for hospital parking

  • Print

OTTAWA -- Hospital patients and visitors are getting relief on the cost of parking, courtesy of the same federal government that unceremoniously closed a loophole last year, forcing them to pay taxes on the fees.

The government announced the plan to stop charging GST or HST on hospital parking Friday, less than a year after ending a tax break on fees at public institutions where the parking lot was run by a non-profit partner.

Hospitals had complained they would have to absorb the tax, resulting in reduced parking revenues they use to supplement their annual health-care budgets.

Shortly after the measure was introduced in the 2013 budget, the government said the change was intended to ensure consistent tax treatment.

"These are companies that are supplying parking to hospitals and they were getting a special tax reduction," then-junior finance minister Ted Menzies told the House of Commons last March.

"We do not think that is necessary."

But the Finance Department is now proposing to soften part of that measure to exempt hospital parking fees from the GST or HST.

The Opposition New Democrats denounced the move as hypocritical, accusing the governing Conservatives of making tax policy "by the seat of their pants."

"A year later, the Conservatives have realized that it is taxing sick Canadians, which is unnecessary, and isn't going to win them any votes," the party said in a statement. "It took (Finance Minister Jim Flaherty) less than a year to realize this policy was unfair."

In a statement Friday, Flaherty said he expects hospitals to pass on the tax savings by reducing the cost of hospital parking. But a number of hospitals were hoping the government would reverse its decision and had not yet factored the tax into their own budgets.

A charitable foundation set up by the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa generates about $1.8 million annually that goes directly into the overall patient-care budget.

Adding the HST meant the foundation would have had to collect up to an additional $234,000 from hospital patients and visitors, or hold parking rates steady and absorb the loss. No tax was ever levied.

Other institutions affected by last year's tax loophole change, however, remain on the hook for parking taxes.

The Harper government said it would keep amendments in place to eliminate the tax exemption for parking provided by a charity set up or used by a municipality, university, public college or school.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 25, 2014 A19

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Gary Lawless & Tim Campbell on the Jets' inconsistency - Jets This Week Oct. 16

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A golfer looks for his ball in a water trap at John Blumberg Golf Course Friday afternoon as geese and goslings run for safety- See Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge- Day 24– June 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Two baby tigers were unveiled at the Assiniboine Park Zoo this morning, October 3rd, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who will you vote for in Wednesday's mayoral race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google