The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance
Senate completes Eastern Canada leg of study of Income Tax Act
November 24, 2017
Ottawa – The Senate Committee on National Finance has completed the third and final stage of its study of the federal government’s proposed changes to the Income Tax Act.
The committee has held 29 public hearings from coast to coast and heard from over 130 witnesses.
Doctors, dentists, farmers, lawyers, union representatives, witnesses from the fishing industry and other small business owners brought concerns and comments over the proposed changes to the act to members of the committee during four days of consultations in Eastern Canada.
From Monday, November 20 to Thursday, November 23, the committee listened to Canadians in St. John’s, N.L., Halifax, N.S. and Saint John, N.B.
Many people expressed concern that existing difficulties attracting professionals, like physicians, to Eastern Canada would be compounded by the proposed restrictions on income sharing and passive income.
Other witnesses were in favour of some of the proposed changes to the act being implemented sooner rather than later. For them, these proposed changes are an important first step toward ensuring fairness in Canada’s tax system.
Senators were also told that the proposed changes could encourage tax avoidance and prove financially and socially counterproductive, especially in smaller towns and cities. For example, a lawyer told the committee that he would be forced to reduce pro bono work, while other small business people spoke of the likelihood of laying off employees.
A physician in Saint John told senators of her own family circumstances. Her husband cares for their three children during the day and maintains her account books and computer systems — all of it unpaid except through her ability to split her income with him for tax purposes.
The committee previously held hearings in Ottawa and Western Canada, and plans to release a report on its findings by Friday, December 15, 2017.
“After 29 public meetings, listening to over 130 witnesses representing thousands of Canadians, and travelling from coast to coast, the Senate finance committee has completed its consultations. Our goal right now is to put together all the views received from Canadians into the report that will be tabled by December 15. Canadians will expect that the Government of Canada and Minister Bill Morneau will take the time to address the findings from the report.”
- Senator Percy Mockler, Chair of the committee
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