Ontario Minister John Wilkinson addresses concerns over HST

John Wilkinson, Ontario’s Minister for Revenue, addressed concerns of the members of the Greater Toronto Business Alliance about the Harmonised Tax on May 4 at Ontario Investment & Trade Centre.

“The HST is a tax reform measure that is aimed at making Ontario’s economy globally competitive and compatible with the prevailing tax structures,” the Minister said.

The Greater Toronto Business Alliance (GTBA) – comprising Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC), the Federation of Portuguese Canadian Business and Professionals Inc., the Italian Canadian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario and the Toronto Chinese Business Association – had organized the interactive session exclusively for the members of these business organizations.

Wilkinson said that the benefits of the tax reform would be long lasting and all pervasive. It would help Ontario’s manufacturing sector. The future economic success would be tied to HST, tax cuts for individuals and small businesses and a reduced corporate tax rate.

Describing the changeover as one of the biggest tax reform ever attempted, the Minister said that over a period of ten years, the reform measures will generate nearly 600,000 jobs in Ontario. The province will have one of the most competitive tax structures in the world.

Asha Luthra, President, ICCC, in her address emphasized that the purpose of organizing the interaction between the members of these four chambers and the Minister was to clear the prevailing confusion over the introduction of HST in the province.

She added that a large section of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce’s membership is small and medium enterprise owners and they have remained apprehensive of the introduction of the HST. The interaction helped dispel many erroneous beliefs.

In November 2009, the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce had held an interactive session with Yasir Naqvi, the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Revenue and its members. Then, Naqvi had emphasized that the province’s economy has to become competitive. “We can’t compete in the 21st century if our tax structure is from the 1960’s,” he had said. Another session is scheduled with Naqvi is scheduled on May 31, 2010 in Mississauga’s Sapphire Banquet Hall.

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