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Sask. to charge PST on insurance premiums, starting Tuesday
Published Monday, July 31, 2017 6:27PM CST
If you own a home, drive a car, or insure yourself against disaster, expect to pay more starting Tuesday.
The Saskatchewan government added six per cent PST to insurance premiums in this year’s budget. This applies to all new policies and most existing policies.
Terry Brownell works for Advocis, the Financial Advisors Association of Canada. He said insurance premiums are already taxed at three per cent, so the added PST means premiums will now be taxed at nine per cent.
“People now have to decide, 'Can I afford to have this insurance and protect my family in the event of something happening, premature death, disability, critical illness?' against, 'do I have the ability to pay my bills?'” said Terry Brownell, regional prairie representative with Advocis.
The NDP said Saskatchewan will now be the only province in Canada to add a tax on insurance premiums. It fears the tax will discourage people from getting insurance in the first place, and hurt the province’s most vulnerable.
“People are already strapped in their pocketbooks right now making ends meet, and we don't want them to end up making a decision where they're not getting these important insurances,” said interim NDP leader Nicole Sarauer.
But the government is standing by its decision to expand the provincial sales tax.
In a statement to CTV News, the government says “it was necessary to raise and expand the provincial sales tax to ensure our finances are stable and we are in a position to provide the services expected by the people of Saskatchewan. Those changes were accompanied by a reduction in the personal income tax rate...and a reduction in the corporate income tax rate."
Brownell hopes the government can find a different solution.
“Maybe look at some alternate proposals that won't affect every resident of Saskatchewan looking to do what's best for their family,” he said.