Industry joins fight against possible tax on health and dental benefits

By Donna Glasgow | January 24 2017 01:30PM

Photo: StockVault

Insurance industry players have joined the fight against a potential federal tax on employer-paid health and dental insurance premiums.

In announcement released Jan. 23, the Independent Financial Brokers of Canada (IFB) said it had joined a coalition of associations in a campaign to prevent such a tax. The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CHLIA) is also supporting the coalition, which also includes several healthcare service associations as we reported earlier this month.

Letter writing campaign

On its website the coalition is encouraging Canadians to write letters to their MPs and the Minister of Finance to maintain the tax-free status of these benefits.

The IFB says there is “widespread concern that if the premiums become taxable, many employers – especially smaller employers – will discontinue or reduce coverage, leaving thousands of Canadians without affordable means to access extended health, dental and other mental and physical care services, not covered under provincial health care plans.”

Small business owners

IFB’s membership is made up of small business owners and self-employed individuals who are licensed to provide life and health insurance advice, so a tax on employer paid health and dental premiums would hit them personally and professionally, says Nancy Allan, IFB’s Executive Director. “We felt it was essential to engage our members and their clients, to ensure the federal government and elected officials understand just how negative the impacts of this change could be,” says Allan.

Valuable preventative care

The Edge Benefits also voiced its support for the campaign via a press release issued Jan. 23. The EDGE, which provides self-employed and small business owners with insurance solutions, said “If this proposed tax is approved, lower and middle class Canadians will lose access to valuable preventative care (such as vision care, prescriptions drugs, dental care, chiropractor, physiotherapy, etc.) which is not currently covered under your provincial health plan.”

The Edge warned that such a tax could mean hundreds of dollars added to Canadians’ tax bills.

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