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GST/HST Advocacy Update Re: BILL C-218

Tue, May 17, 2022 4:18 PM | Evonne Brant (Administrator)

Top row (L to R): Monika Green, M.Ed., RP, CCC, Director of Public Affairs, Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association; Lindsay Mathyssen, MP, London-Fanshawe; Andrea D'Onofrio, MA, RP, OSRP Board Member.

Bottom row (L to R): Laura Hetherington, RP, PRPA; Ben Howe, Senior Consultant, Impact Public Affairs; Rachel Fulford, RP, OSRP Board Member. Regrets: Stephanie Woo Dearden, MA, RP(Q).

As previously announced, in December 2021, MP Lindsay Mathyssen tabled a private member’s bill called C-218: An Act to Amend the Excise Tax Act (psychotherapy services) to support a GST/HST exemption for psychotherapy services.

On May 5, Andrea D’Onofrio (Chair of #StopTaxingMyTherapy) and Rachel Fulford (Chair of the Advocacy Committee) joined our partners at the CCPA (Canada-wide), PRPA (Ontario-wide) and Impact (Lobbying Firm) to meet on Zoom with MP Lindsay Mathyssen.

We were all impressed by Mathyssen’s commitment to the removal of GST/HST from our services, and her desire to work with us to correct this barrier to access as soon as possible. She recognizes that Canadians deserve better access to psychotherapy and sees exemption of psychotherapy services as part of the toolkit for pandemic recovery and the massive mental health needs facing Canada now.

Unfortunately, Private Member’s Bill C-218 was placed far down the list for this parliament – #199, with #1 being the first to go forward. Order of precedence is determined lottery-style. However, Mathyssen remains committed to working with us and our partners to use the Bill to pressure the government to bring forward its own Bill, which they can do at any time.

We have learned that private member’s bills such as this do not have the power to amend taxation law, as the power to amend taxation rests solely with the Federal Government through a finance bill. That means that this Bill cannot grant tax exemption to our profession. However, Bill C-218 can play an essential part in our advocacy by raising awareness and support around this issue with Members of Parliament and the Government, encouraging them to legislate a GST/HST exemption for the profession.

Our next step is to prepare a coordinated advocacy effort with our members and stakeholders to support Bill C-218 and encourage the Government to remove this tax on our profession. Please stay tuned for more information on how you can help support this Bill through one unified and loud voice.

We are grateful to MP Mathyssen for championing this Bill, to the many MPs who have already expressed their support for this Bill, and to all the OSRP #StopTaxingMyTherapy volunteers who have worked on this issue, with particular thanks to Stephanie Woo Dearden who first connected with MP Mathyssen and informed her of this issue.

We ask that you please keep us informed of any emails or conversations with your MPs via [email protected]

We look forward to sharing how you can get more involved as soon as we can.

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