Cullen introduces bill calling for Tax Fairness for Haida Gwaii

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC moved for leave to introduce Bill C-611, An Act regarding the inclusion of Haida Gwaii as a prescribed northern zone under the Income Tax Act.

“Mr. Speaker, this is calling for tax fairness for the residents of Haida Gwaii who have been waiting too long for governments, one after another, that have successively punished people living in remote and rural communities.

The bill would change the Income Tax Act to allow the remote communities in Haida Gwaii to be included in the northern living allowance.

Haida Gwaii has become famous for its powerful scenery, its incredible cultures and strong people, but it is also known to be a very expensive place to live due to its remoteness. BC Ferries and other crown corporations have been hurting the residents of Haida Gwaii, increasing the prices of everything. The government can act on this by including it, as it did for the community of Mackenzie some years ago, in the northern living allowance and allowing people in Haida Gwaii to finally have some sort of recovery ability for their economy and their communities by having tax fairness for Haida Gwaii.”

 

Click Here for a copy of the bill.

BILL C-611: An Act regarding the inclusion of Haida Gwaii as a prescribed northern zone under the Income Tax Act

Whereas the Parliament of Canada recognizes that it is necessary to provide stimulus to revive the Canadian economy and, in particular, to provide stimulus to the regional economy of Haida Gwaii, which has been severely affected by downturns in the forestry and financial sectors;

Whereas Haida Gwaii has a particular strategic importance in that it forms a northern border with United States territory and is the basis of Canada’s claim to the Dixon Entrance, which is an important maritime route;

Whereas one rationale for the northern residents deductions is to help maintain the population in northern Canada for the defence of sovereignty;

Whereas another rationale for the northern residents deductions is the fact that the economies of northern and isolated areas, including that of Haida Gwaii, tend to be concentrated in resource sectors that are seasonal or subject to cyclical fluctuations and, as such, require special tax treatment to help employers recruit and retain workers;

Whereas residents of similarly isolated regions of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec that are much more southerly than Haida Gwaii are eligible for the northern residents deductions;

Whereas Haida Gwaii is much more isolated than mainland British Columbia regions of similar latitude;

Whereas the remote nature of Haida Gwaii is evidenced by the fact that employees of the Government of Canada and of Crown corporations who work there receive an isolation allowance;

Whereas extending the northern residents deductions to the working population of Haida Gwaii would not cost the Government of Canada a significant sum in forgone tax revenue, yet would greatly stimulate the re­gional economy;

Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

1. This Act may be cited as the Haida Gwaii Income Tax Zoning Act.

2. The Governor in Council shall, within 60 days after the coming into force of this Act, amend section 7303.1 of the Income Tax Regulations to include Haida Gwaii as a prescribed northern zone.