KELOWNA, BC– The Surrey Board of Trade is calling on the provincial government to overhaul the current MSP system at the BC Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting and Conference, May 29 – 31 in Kelowna. This policy was approved at today’s BC Chamber policy session as a priority to the BC Government.
“Eliminating the bureaucratic apparatus needed to collect the premiums by collecting the MSP revenues through one or more existing taxes would eliminate the financial burden on employers, the self-employed and retirees as well as those associated with premium assistance. Small business owners and the self- employed also realize these costs through higher benefit expenses for employees and individual premiums that rise faster than the rate of inflation. The MSP is a cost driver for employers, and in that sense it poses problems,” said Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade.
That the Provincial Government mandate an overhaul of the current MSP system through the new Provincial Tax Competitiveness Commission (PTCC) giving consideration of the following options:
- Replace the MSP with a progressive and equitable approach to health care funding;
- Abolish the current MSP premium system and implement a line item to the provincial income tax; and
- Provide in advance at least one year’s notice to indicate that the MSP tax would be replaced with a combination of a payroll tax and an income tax surcharge, as is done in Ontario.
The Surrey Board of Trade authored this policy. At this BC Chamber of Commerce AGM, Chamber delegates from across B.C. voted on this policy, among others put forward. The policy received two-thirds of votes to pass.
“The Surrey Board of Trade is proud to take this policy forward to our peers from across the province,” said Anita Huberman. “Our organization is committed to creating a more business-friendly Surrey and a more business-friendly B.C. We think this policy will help achieve that and we hope it will get the needed votes from our peer Chambers and Boards of Trade.”
The BC Chamber AGM and Conference is held in a different B.C. community each year. The event is the largest annual business policy-building forum in the province. Every year, member Chambers of the BC Chamber develop and submit policies for the consideration of their peers. This year, 54 policies were forwarded and will be voted on at the AGM policy sessions. The Surrey Board of Trade submitted 11 policies for approval.
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