Slow Down & Get Things Right: Ontario’s Engineers Respond to Morneau’s Tax Plan

Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau speaking to proposed tax changes at a news conference in Ottawa. (Photo credit: Chris Wattie/Reuters, sourced from Maclean’s, September 1, 2016)

The national conversation regarding Ottawa’s proposed changes to the federal tax code has built to a fever pitch. As doctors, accountants, realtors, and other professionals marshal resources to help inform and shape Finance Minister Morneau’s plan, it’s time Ontario’s engineers made their voices heard.

In an ideal tax system, artificial tax advantages wouldn’t exist—and there’s no doubt that Canadians would benefit from a more simplified, clear, and thoughtful tax code, however, engineers know that rushed decisions to improve a system or project can often have unintended negative consequences. The federal government launched its consultation on the proposed changes mid-summer and aims to wrap them up in a matter of a few weeks, leaving many concerned that this brief timeline may not be sufficient for making critical changes to such an integral part of Canada’s employment, entrepreneurship, and innovation ecosystems.

As a result, the immediate message from many of Ontario’s engineers: slow down. If tax reforms are worth doing, they’re worth doing cautiously.

While economists and experts vary widely in their forecasts for how the proposed changes will impact Canadian employment and entrepreneurship statistics, it is clear that the proposed tax changes pose a threat to Canadian innovation—particularly impacting Canada’s start ups, scale-ups, and venture businesses. In many cases, these businesses face fierce international competition and are of a disproportionately high-risk, tech driven, and mobile nature, meaning opportunities to de-risk, reduce burdens, and grow are likely to have a greater impact on their behaviour versus geographically linked, traditional market-access businesses. That is to say, when the going gets tough, they either up-and-leave or succumb to foreign competition. Engineers are drivers of both traditional and non-traditional forms of innovation and must have a voice in amending the direction of Morneau’s tax plan.

Are you an engineering consultant, entrepreneur or small business owner?

The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers represents professional engineers, engineering students, graduates, and engineering interns (EITs) who are employees, employers, and sometimes both—and we need you to share your views on the proposed tax changes.

– How will the proposed tax changes influence you, your business, and the engineering profession?

– How do you think the proposed tax changes will impact the behaviour of engineering entrepreneurs and the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem?

– From an engineering standpoint, how will the proposed tax changes affect innovation, competitiveness, and choice?

Share your input in the comments section below!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Darya Duma

    I am self-employed, but not incorporated. Income sprinkling is not a fair system, particularly for those making over $200,000/per annum. When I was employed, I was not permitted to split my income among family members, I don’t see why that should change because I now own my own business. More and more of us are becoming self-employed or working on contract. At a certain point, if that formed the bulk of employment, the day would come when income sprinkling would become endemic and affect the tax base. If my family member actually contributed to the business and was an employee of the business, then of course that would be a different story. One should be able, for example, to employ a child in a part-time job in a family business and pay them appropriately. Similarly, if your spouse assisted with preparing proposals, answering the phone or managing the finances. So I do hope that the tax systems are not so poorly thought out to eliminate that possibility.

    1. Sarah B.

      This is amazing – I really appreciate OSPE lending its voice to this important issue.

Leave a Reply

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.