THUNDER BAY – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy and other NAN leaders are pushing for Canada and Ontario to maintain its current point-of-sale (POS) tax exemption for First Nations residents once the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) takes effect July 1, 2010. This comes, in the wake of a meeting held this week between the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and Ontario First Nations.
“We are encouraged that a solution could be reached before the HST comes into effect,” said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. “Both levels of government have come a long way and we are confident that the POS tax exemption will continue to be administered for First Nations in Ontario.”
Two possible options were presented in the meeting held Monday June 7, 2010 – both of which include all Ontario First Nations people and do not make reference of on/off reserve residents. Ontario’s option is under the Canada-Ontario Comprehensive Integrated Tax Co-ordination Agreement (Canada-Ontario CITCA) – opposed by Canada for data issues. Canada’s solution lies outside the HST framework and despite meeting First Nations objectives, is suspect on its longevity.
“It is preferred by us to have the POS tax exemption administered under the CITCA agreement because it will be in effect as long as there is an HST Tax,” said Beardy. “With the Federal Government’s option, there is no guarantee that the POS rebate will continue in the case of a change in office. This could mean that the position of the Feds may change. We need assurance that the exemption will be long-term.”
One of the solutions proposed would have Aboriginal citizens saving their receipts, and submitting them annually. One problem with that idea is that for most cash register receipts, they either fade away, or often turn black if left in a pocket, thus rendering them useless.
A meeting between Canada’s, Ontario’s and Ontario’s First Nations leaders is scheduled for Friday June 11, 2010. A political meeting will be demanded by Ontario’s First Nations if the POS tax exemption is not resolved.