OTTAWA — Much to the dismay of many, the process towards constituting Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in Ontario and British Columbia began in the House of Commons (HOC) yesterday.
The HOC voted 192-32 in favour of the ways and means motion amending the Excise Tax Act, part of the levy implementation process, while the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) continued to lobby against the new tax on behalf of its members. In fact, a recent survey commissioned by the B.C. restaurant and foodservice industry shows 64 per cent of its customers would like restaurant food exempted from a new tax.
“Consumers’s wallets will take a major hit if the federal and provincial governments move forward with implementing an additional seven per cent tax on food served at restaurants, despite the strong opposition by British Columbians,” said Mark von Schellwitz, vice-president of Western Canada for the CRFA. “Everything from morning coffee to lunch at the university or office cafeteria to pizza dinner with the kids will cost consumers more. This survey underscores that it is not just industry that opposes HST, but that consumers agree with much of what we have argued for months.”
In Ontario, lobbying has been met with some success as the province’s government has agreed to offer exemptions on certain prepared foods and beverages sold for less than $4.
The implementation process for both provinces is expected to continue today as the HST bill itself is introduced in Ottawa.