Ontario’s plan to adopt the HST this year is facing strong opposition in Parliment and from consumer groups. The HST would combine Ontario’s sales tax with the federal goods and services tax, and would raise the price of many items not previously affected by provincial sales tax, such as fast food, haircuts and travel.
One consumer lobby group,The National Citizen’s Coalition, has a calculator on its website (nationalcitizens.ca) to help consumers determine how much extra the new tax will cost. According to the president of this group members have said they will be spending anywhere from $800 to $3,200 more a year if the HST passes.
On the other hand a recent report by the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary said the HST, along with other tax cuts in the 2009 provincial budget, would create $47 billion in new investment in Ontario and 591,000 jobs over 10 years.
A bill paving the way for the HST, which Ontario would like to see in place by July 1, 2010, is expected to be presented to Parliament by March 31.
More information is available on the Ottawa Citizen website.