Good afternoon, Mr. Chair and members of the committee. Thank you for allowing me to speak today.
I'm here to support the amendment to increase the collection of HST/GST from the ride-sharing companies and affiliated drivers.
My name is Marc André Way. I'm the president of the Canadian Taxi Association. I have also been the chief operating officer of Coventry Connections since 2004, operating 1,500 taxis in six municipalities in Ontario. I'm also co-owner of Capital Taxi, a business operating in Ottawa since 1938. My experience in the ground transportation business is extensive in the taxi, limousine, black car, and sedan business.
I'm an active member of the community. I hold a seat on the transportation committee of the Greater Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, and the taxi advisory committee of the City of Ottawa. I'm also a board member of the Taxi, Limousine and Paratransit Association, an international association that will be celebrating its 100th year of service in 2018.
We are presenting today to support the government's decision to address the significant inequity in the application of GST/HST that has a substantial impact on us and our members. The Canadian Taxi Association is the voice of the taxi industry in Canada. Our members consist of the largest companies in most major cities across Canada. We speak for an industry of 30,000 taxi owners and operators and over 50,000 taxi drivers, who undertake over $2 billion in consumer transactions on an annual basis.
All taxi operators in Canada are required to be registered for GST and HST purposes, and to charge, collect, report, and remit HST and GST on their fares regardless of their annual revenue.
Ride-sharing companies such as Uber and TappCar and their drivers should be required to be registered. Typically today they are not registered and do not charge, collect, report, or remit GST or HST. This creates a significant competitive disadvantage for our drivers and members and provides a direct competitive advantage to the ride-sharing companies and their drivers. The recent budget of 2017 levels the playing field for us.
Over time, changes in the economy have made a number of provisions in the Canadian tax statutes less relevant than when they were first introduced. To address these changes, budget 2017 proposes to amend the definition of a taxi business under the Excise Tax Act to level the playing field and ensure that ride-sharing businesses are subject to the same GST and HST rules as taxis.
Our reason for strongly supporting those measures in budget 2017 are to ensure a fair, equitable, consistent application of GST to all suppliers in the private transportation industry, including taxis and ride-sharing companies; to maintain a competitive private transportation industry unburdened by arbitrary tax preferences; to simplify the application of GST in the private transportation industry for both consumers and suppliers; to ensure the stability of the federal government's HST/GST revenues for ride-sharing companies and their drivers, just as our members and drivers collect, report, and remit for the government's benefit; and to improve the operation of GST for the benefit of all Canadians.
In conclusion, the past unfair and inconsistent application of the excise tax's small supplier registration exemption poses a significant threat to the competitiveness of the private transportation industry. Unless amendments to the excise tax are made, small supplier ride-sharing companies and their drivers will have an arbitrary but significant price advantage in the market. Consumers will be forced to seek smaller supplier ride-sharing company drivers in order to receive a lower fare.
As consumers continue to increase their reliance on the services offered by ride-sharing companies and their drivers, the federal government's GST revenues from private transportation companies will steadily decline. Accordingly, we support the Government of Canada and the Department of Finance amendment to the excise tax to address this inequitable application of the GST/HST between our drivers and members and the ride-sharing companies and their drivers.