Update on tax changes

Dear Colleagues:

I am writing to bring you up to date on our advocacy work against the proposed federal tax changes and to tell you about a survey you will receive from Doctors of BC on Wednesday, September 6.

I encourage you to take 10 minutes to fill out the survey. Physicians’ views are diverse. We want to hear from all of you about your views on the tax changes – to get a sense of if or how you anticipate they will impact your practice and your patients.  The results will be used to inform our submission to the federal government and to help shape our advocacy approach for the coming months.

Doctors of BC is responding to the overwhelming concerns of our members that the tax changes will negatively impact medical practices operating as small businesses. As part of our advocacy efforts, I recently met with federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau as part of a CMA delegation.  We spoke with him about the issues brought forward by our members.  In particular we asked for an extended consultation period to respond to the complexities of the proposed changes and an opportunity for ongoing dialog.  There appeared to be some willingness to listen to our ideas about how to mitigate what we see as the unintended consequences of the pending legislation.

I was pleased to see this morning that the Minister stated the tax changes will apply only on a go-forward basis; that neither existing savings, or investment income from those savings, will be touched. It is a first step, but there is still much work to be done. Based on comments in the media by both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, it is clear the federal government is not going to easily shift its position. Certainly, MPs are aware of the huge backlash within the small business community of which we are only one part.

Also on the advocacy front today, Doctors of BC partnered with the CMA to hold a women’s physician roundtable in Kelowna that coincided with a meeting of the federal Liberal Women’s Caucus. A meeting of the full federal caucus will take place tomorrow (September 6) where it is expected the proposed tax changes are expected to be a major point of discussion.  Our goal with the roundtable was to highlight how the changes will adversely affect female physicians and women entrepreneurs. We want to ensure the government is aware of the unintended consequences associated with its tax proposal.

Your support is vital as we move forward. I want to thank you for sending your stories on the potential impact of the tax changes – I truly believe that the voices of individual physicians around the country will be extremely powerful in influencing the decision-makers. Your letters will be an important part of our submission to the federal government and they are contributing to the strength of our social media campaign. Please keep sending them to your MPs, the federal Finance Minister, the Prime Minister and to your local MLAs. The more personal you make your submission, the more impact it will have. I also encourage you to discuss your concerns with community organizations representing small businesses, in particular your local Chambers of Commerce.

To support you, we have created a one-stop web page “hub” that provides information on how you can get involved – including template letters and MP addresses. To access the page, click here. It also provides information on how Doctors of BC is advocating for our members. If you have questions, concerns, thoughts, stories to share – don’t hesitate to drop me a line at President@doctorsofbc.ca

It is important to acknowledge the concerns and uncertainty this proposal has generated in the small business community.  We will continue to work for a solution that will address these concerns, and will keep you apprised of our activities and outcomes as the situation evolves.

Dr Trina Larsen Soles, M.Sc. M.D. FRRMS
President, Doctors of BC

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