Posted June 29, 2011
July 1st will mark Canada's 144th birthday and the first anniversary of the introduction of harmonized sales tax in the province of Ontario. ITAC, through its Tax and Finance Committee, advocated the need for harmonization for a number of years. When the Ontario Government announced its decision to harmonize in 2009, we called the decision a major public policy breakthrough that would reduce business costs and complexity and generally improve competitiveness.
Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Sandra Pupatello, along with Madeleine Meilleur (Minister for Community and Social Services) and MPP's Yasir Naqvi and Phil McNeely joined a special meeting of ITAC's Tax and Finance Committee on June 28th at Telus House in Ottawa to take stock of the impact of HST on our industry so far. The new chair of the Tax and Finance Committee Karen Atkinson (also Partner Business Tax Services at Ernst & Young) welcomed the Minister and noted that HST continues to be viewed as a positive measure that has assisted in keeping the industry healthy through challenging economic times. Audrey Diamant, Partner Indirect Tax for PricewaterhouseCoopers also attended the meeting and reiterated that even though the industry is still incurring transitional costs and dealing with unforeseen issues arising from HST introduction, it is doing so optimistically because it believes that HST is a positive change that will make business more competitive.