OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is promising to remove federal sales tax from Canadians’ home-heating bills as part of an early election campaign commitment.
If elected in the October federal election, Scheer says he would offer rebates to Canadians for the five per cent tax charged on all residential home energy, including heating oil, electricity, natural gas, propane, wood pellets and other heating sources.
Scheer estimates this could save Canadians an average of $107 per year.
The rebate would be capped at a maximum of $200 per household and would not be available for commercial energy costs.
The heating bills for investment properties would also not be eligible.
People who live in provinces that have harmonized provincial and federal sales taxes would get the same rebate.
“Heating your home in winter isn’t a luxury for Canadians. It is a necessity,” Scheer said. “We don’t tax other basic necessities like groceries and we shouldn’t be taxing home heating.”
The Conservatives estimate the measure would cost the federal treasury $1.6 billion.
Scheer’s promise comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has launched a campaign — complete with a series of Liberal party ads — aimed at drawing the public’s attention to his carbon-pricing plan and how money raised from his imminent carbon tax will be rebated directly to residents of the four provinces that have no equivalent measures of their own.
The Trudeau government is requiring provinces to impose a price on carbon emissions, starting at $20 per tonne this year and rising by $10 per tonne annually until it hits $50 in 2022. Ottawa is imposing its own tax on Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick, as they continue to refuse to impose their own carbon pricing plan that meets federal targets.
Scheer has been a vocal opponent of the carbon tax and said the sales-tax cut would come along with scrapping the carbon tax if he becomes prime minister.
Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press