Evidence of meeting #90 for Finance in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was industry.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Luke Harford  President, Beer Canada
Murray Souter  Board Member, Canadian Vintners Association
Carl Sparkes  President and Chief Executive Officer, Devonian Coast Wineries
Joyce Reynolds  Executive Vice-President, Government Affairs, Restaurants Canada
Jan Westcott  President and Chief Executive Officer, Spirits Canada
Frank Rider  Chairman of the Board, Canadian Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
Normand Lafrenière  President, Canadian Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
Nicholas Rivers  Associate Professor, University of Ottawa, As an Individual
Marc André Way  President, Canadian Taxi Association
François Pepin  President of the Council, Transport 2000 Québec
Maëlle Plouganou  Secretary of the Board, Transport 2000 Québec
Louis Marcotte  Director General, International Business Development, Investment and Innovation, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Roger Ermuth  Assistant Comptroller General, Financial Management Sector, Office of the Comptroller General, Treasury Board Secretariat

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Raj Grewal Liberal Brampton East, ON

So each driver is licensed by the city or municipality they drive in, and they're also registered to collect GST?

It doesn't matter if they make $10,000 a year or $90,000 a year.

5:35 p.m.

President, Canadian Taxi Association

Marc André Way

That's correct. It starts from dollar zero.

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Raj Grewal Liberal Brampton East, ON

Okay. Now our budget this is year is going to change the definition of taxis to include ride-sharing applications, the common one being Uber.

5:35 p.m.

President, Canadian Taxi Association

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Raj Grewal Liberal Brampton East, ON

As somebody who's been in the industry for so long how would you anticipate it should apply to Uber?

5:35 p.m.

President, Canadian Taxi Association

Marc André Way

Uber's fares are not fixed by the licensing authorities. Therefore, if anyone took an Uber ride today, the fare is calculated on distance and by a multiplier, depending on if there's surge pricing or not. It all depends on demand. They should be adding the HST to the final fare, as we are adding it. The difference between us and Uber is that we have to include it in the metre, whereas they can easily simply add that to their calculations when they remit the invoices or the receipt to the customer.

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Raj Grewal Liberal Brampton East, ON

For it to be fair, because this is all about tax fairness in my opinion, and you're operating a taxi and Uber and you are essentially doing the same level of business, then you should be applying the same level of tax. Ideally if you're an Uber driver, Uber would change its policy to collect it at the fare stage, and whether it were the brokerage or the driver who remitted it, it would make an even playing field.

5:35 p.m.

President, Canadian Taxi Association

Marc André Way

That's right. It all depends on how Uber treats its drivers, either as dependent contractors, such as taxi drivers, or as employees. If they're employees, Uber needs to collect those taxes from the drivers and from all the rides and remit them to the government.

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you, Raj.

Mr. Liepert.

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

Thank you.

Thanks, all of you, for your presentations.

Because of the limited time, I'm going to focus strictly on the decision to cancel the transit pass credit. With all due respect to the other guests, I think Mr. Dusseault is going to ask you some questions, whereas I have have a couple for Mr. Rivers.

If I heard you correctly, your study indicated that most of the benefit of the credit did not got to the low-income category, but to the medium- to higher-income category. Now we hear a lot about the middle class, which we can't really define, but it sounds to me as if this is a tax increase on the middle class. Is that fair?

5:35 p.m.

Associate Professor, University of Ottawa, As an Individual

Dr. Nicholas Rivers

This is a tax increase on the middle class.

May 15th, 2017 / 5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

It's taking away a tax credit for the middle class.

5:35 p.m.

Associate Professor, University of Ottawa, As an Individual

Dr. Nicholas Rivers

Okay, I got you.

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

Isn't that correct?

5:35 p.m.

Associate Professor, University of Ottawa, As an Individual

Dr. Nicholas Rivers

Yes.

I have the numbers from the Department of Finance calculations here, using the Canada Revenue Agency claims, and they've analyzed who's claiming the tax credit and the amount of claims overall. They're finding that the lowest income people claim the tax credit less than those with all the other incomes. They're finding that individuals between, say, $37,000 and $123,000 of individual income have the highest claim ratio and individuals above $123,000 are roughly even.

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

So those—

5:40 p.m.

Associate Professor, University of Ottawa, As an Individual

Dr. Nicholas Rivers

The way I understand it, very simply, is that it will work out as a transfer from people with $37,000 to $123,000 income to people earning less than $37,000.

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

Right, and that's what these guys call the middle class, I think, even though they can't define it. Those are my constituents, largely, who take transit downtown to work in Calgary. While it's a dumb decision on the part of the government to cancel this tax credit, I actually think it will be a political gain for me because, as I said, I think it was a dumb political decision. It may make economic sense, but politically it was a pretty dumb decision. What are the numbers of people who actually claimed that credit in the last tax year? How many claimants were there?

5:40 p.m.

Associate Professor, University of Ottawa, As an Individual

Dr. Nicholas Rivers

I don't know if I can pull that off the top of my head. Let's see.... The total number of claims is around 1.7 million.

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

That's a lot of voters.

Thanks, I'm done.

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

They're not all in Calgary though, Ron.

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

They're spread out nicely.

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. Dusseault for three minutes, please.

5:40 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

I'll take the time.

I thank all of you for being here.

I am going to continue on the topic of public transit. We are talking about people who use public transit.

Do you have data on those who use public transit for the most part? Are these people with incomes of $150,000 or more, or rather those who have middle-class incomes in the median range, even though the government has not yet defined the middle class?

5:40 p.m.

President of the Council, Transport 2000 Québec

François Pepin

We have not examined data such as Statistics Canada figures regarding the income of commuters. That data does not exist for provinces or municipalities.

However, Mr. Rivers has just provided some figures. According to his study, the majority of those who claim the tax credit for public transit have an annual income of between $37,000 and $120,000. We think that this proportion of the population accurately reflects income distribution in general.