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

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Personal Impact of the HST

The HST came into effect on July 1, 2010 combining the 5% GST (federal) and 8% PST (provincial).  Previously 17% of consumer goods and services (eg. lawyers fees, real estate commissions, internet, electricity, natural gas, gasoline, hair cuts, public transportation, motel rooms etc) were PST exempt.  The HST has added 8% in tax to these goods and services.  On a personal level the added 8% on just internet, electricity and natural gas has increased our annual cost of living by $230.72.  We live in a rural area so must buy gasoline if we want to go anywhere which has added at least $8 per week to our cost of living ($416 per year).  So between four necessities of modern life our cost of living has risen by $646.72 per year.  If we sell our house for the price we want, we will pay $2.047.50 HST on the commission paid to the real estate agent plus HST on lawyers fees and land transfer fees to purchase another home, basically using up a good chunk of our equity.  If we do any repairs or maintenance on our home to help it sell we will pay HST on materials and any labour.

How are we coping with the HST?

We are shopping outside of Ontario as much as possible.  I'm sorry but with the added 8% we can no longer afford to buy gasoline in Ontario or anything else we don't have to including materials needed for home repair and maintenance.  We are currently looking at a way to get internet service outside of Ontario and since truckers are able to get internet service outside of Ontario we feel it is quite possible to do so.  Rather than purchase a cottage in Ontario with all the associated HST costs of acquisition, upkeep, utilities, and commuting to, we purchased a vacation home outside of Ontario with no HST costs.  While we were always the DIY type, we now refuse to hire anyone for repairs and maintenance.  We are slowly making the conversion over to solar and this is slowed because out house is on the market but we intend the next house to be fully solar as far as electricity to simply eliminate buying hydro entirely which in turn eliminates any hydro related HST.  We are buying the components for our solar system as we can afford them outside of Ontario.  We are also intending to switch over to solar water heating that will eliminate part of our natural gas costs.

What are my thoughts on the HST?

I'm very much against the HST!  The HST is a poorly designed tax with the sole purpose of hurting people when they are already down due to the current economic downfall.  It is nothing more than an extremely greedy tax grab on the part of the McGuinty government.  The HST adds tax to essentials that living in Ontario you cannot do without - electricity, gasoline and home heating fuel.  I fail to see why we have to pay another $2,000 in tax on the sale of our house when we already pay through the nose in taxes for owning a home.  I think this was a real eye opener realizing that the McGuinty government would get an additional $2,000 in tax out of the equity we have worked so hard to build up in our home.  Let's face it one of the reasons we want to move is to reduce the commute, reduce our house taxes and reduce the amount of HST we have to pay where we are now.  This really is not a good time to be selling a house in Ontario!

The people of Ontario are not stupid.  They can see all of the backpedaling McGuinty is doing.  Short term rebates of giving voters back money that is rightfully theirs in the first place will not sway their votes come election time.  Dalton McGuinty should do the graceful thing and step down like British Columbia's Premier Gordon Campbell did.  The funny thing is no one in the Liberal party wants to take over Campbell's postition so clearly even they realize what a hot potato the HST is and how much the voters are against it.


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