The Federal opposition party is ringing the alarm bell about the government’s proposed plan to tax extended health and dental benefits.
Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose says the tax could cost Canadians up to $1,000 each.
“People are worried,” Ambrose told the Steele & Drex show.
Ambrose says about 9-million Canadians receive benefits through their job, 23-million if you count their families.
“When you think about it, the private sector is helping pay for a huge amount of coverage, above and beyond what our great public system pays for.”
That coverage includes things like prescription medication or trips to the chiropractor.
She says she’s concerned people might give that up if they are worried about their bottom line come tax time.
“They’re going to be taxed more. And what happens then is that people might decide you know what, maybe I’ll take the cash instead, I’ll drop my insurance benefit for a while. And then when they try and get back in they find it might out that it might be more difficult.”
The proposal has been met by a movement named “Don’t Tax My Health Benefits,” which was put together by a number of industry groups including the Canadian Dental Association.
Ambrose also weighed in on relations with new U.S. President Donald Trump, saying it’s time to re-jig Canada’s relationship with our neighbours to the south.
Ambrose says she thinks the Canadian government and the Trump administration can keep a strong business relationship, but other issues like immigration need to be kept in check.
“Maintaining a cordial relationship is important, but I think we can balance that out. We can still support our own values and support free trade.”
Ambrose says Canada is a country of immigrants and refugees, and wouldn’t be what it is today if it didn’t have a history of welcoming newcomers.
She says countries like Canada and the U.S. who have strong immigration systems established should both continue to take people in, especially refugees.
“Particularly people that are coming from countries like Iraq or Syria that are persecuted by ISIS or fleeing for their lives in terror. And there’s a lot of people that need our help.”
Listen to the full interview
With files from Kyle Benning