Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

HST is Affecting Canadians More Than Expected

On July 1, 2010 the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) came into effect in Ontario and British Columbia.  Statistics Canada predicted that the HST would cost each family living in those provinces an additional $512 annually.  On August 20 Statistics Canada released reported that consumer prices in Ontario rose 2.9 per cent in July1.  According to Statistics Canada this is the largest year to year increase in Canada.  Media sources across Canada are reporting that the HST is driving inflation higher accounting for 1.3% of the increase, considerably higher than a TD Bank report used by the government to justify the HST.

Ontario consumers are now paying an additional 8% on gasoline, electricity, home heating fuel, auto insurance premiums and home renovation costs as well a 18% of consumer goods that previously only had the 5% GST (federal).  What does this really mean?  Speaking as a somewhat average Canadian consumer I was quite surprised at the difference.  Here are the prominent cost of living increases we have experienced due to the HST as per the most recent bills:

  • electricity - HST was $7.27
  • telephone - HST was $8.27
  • television (satellite)* - HST was $9.27
  • internet (satellite)* - HST was $7.15
  • natural gas (heating, hot water, dryer, grill) - HST was $7.67
That comes to a grand total of  $39.63 of which more than half ($31.70) is new tax!  At this rate it works out to our increased cost of living in Ontario of $380.45.  That's getting rather close to the original annual prediction of $512 and this is just on our basic necessities without considering any extras like gasoline, car repairs, or any of the other 17% of consumer goods this tax is on.  The other day my husband forgot the usable grocery bags but was only stopping for a few things.  He bought one plastic bag that cost 5¢ then had 1¢ tacked on in HST.  The HST comes at a time when people are already down and getting discouraged over the ever increasing cost of living.  Hydro One in Ontario has predicted that electricity rates will increase 32% by the end of 2011.  When the HST was announced we put our house up for sale just after we bought an out of country vacation home.  We were hoping to sell before it went into effect because the HST increases all costs associated with buying and selling a house (real estate fees, lawyer's fees, land transfer tax, etc) by 8%.  We couldn't sell with the number one reason being the additional HST costs.  I suspect we will get a prorated bill from our auto insurance company wanting the HST after July 1 since we renewed earlier in the year. 

The HST is nothing but a greedy tax grab!  Rather than moving Ontario and British Columbia forward it is going to be putting it into more of a recession as people can no longer afford even the basics in life like home heating.  I'm sorry but to those on fixed incomes an overall increase just on the basics of $39.63, well actually it is more than that because we now have a TV tax, the Ontario Hydro debt retirement (thanks to the Ontario government's mismanagement), and a host of user fees with from all predictions many more to come thanks to Dalton McGuinty's government.  These really are dark days for living in Ontario!  Food insecurity continues to rise, monetary and food donations are down, the food banks are hurting, the social assistance and unemployment rolls are rising AND the only solution McGuinty's government can come up with it to tax us more?

*We live in a rural area.  We have a choice of dial-up internet or satellite service and that's it.  We have a choice of antenna (about 4 channels) or satellite, that's it.  Since we stay home especially in the winter rather than going out to theatres and that type of thing, the internet and television are our main source of entertainment.


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