Retired Persons Visa

Fall 2011 CSANews Issue 80  |   Posted date : Sep 02, 2011.Back to list

Bird talk - Le Jaseur
Dear Bird Talk,

My summer edition of CSANews just arrived today and I have read it from cover to cover. I believe it was one of the most interesting and informative issues I have read during my years as a CSA member. First off, the Editor's Message was very enlightening. Then the various letters on Length of Stay, etc (which was a major topic of discussion last winter). While for many years we stayed for six months in Florida, we now stay for only 96 days or so, as we sold our condo a few years ago. Hence, the back-and-forth issue is no longer a problem for us. Then the Opinion page and Michael Coren; I find his writing quite fascinating.

Now my reason for writing – the President's Message and the Government Relations report. Both very well-written, but was surprised to read about a Retired Persons Visa allowing a longer stay in the U.S. Yes, I can understand U.S. governors, U.S. chambers of commerce, etc. being in full support of this, but WHY would we think that Canadian federal and provincial politicians would think this a GOOD idea? After all, we are suggesting the economic benefits to the U.S. by we Canadians spending more time in the U.S., but would Canadian politicians not see this as an economic loss to Canada?

Don't wish to throw "cold water," but find this a bit puzzling. Thanks for an excellent magazine.

Jim Marshall
Collingwood, Ont.

P.S. Enjoyed the Grins and Giggles too!

Response :
Ed: “Cold Water” is appreciated at CSANews. It gives us an opportunity to better explain things and to share and expand on our, and CSA’s, ideas. For years, many snowbirds have spent seven and eight months in the U.S., illegally. They perhaps did not know that it was illegal but, with the new border security measures, they know now that it is illegal. There are many reasons for these extended trips and most have to do with the weather.

Many snowbirds live in the North of our provinces in cottages, RVs and trailers and they run into pipe-freezing issues, sewers not operational, campgrounds closing for the winter and impossible access to their Canadian home due to snow. An extra month is invaluable to these people.

The note above from Mr. Zukowsky is another problem for those of us who live within 100 miles of the U.S. border (and most Canadians do). If we winter away for six months, then those extra golf trips, shopping trips and simple visits to friends are not allowed. This makes no sense.

The real issue to resolve, of course, is what will Ottawa and the provinces do? My guess is that they will not really care, as long as they get their taxes. They will still receive all of the income taxes (we believe that a waiver from the U.S. on taxes would be included with the visa) and their property taxes, and these are the two main components of revenue. They would miss out on GST for gas and food, but that is minimal in the overall tax structure for snowbirds. And there would be large cost savings in that no services would be provided during the snowbird visa-holder’s absence. I have always joked that the Canadian government should provide two first-class airline tickets to the southern U.S. to every person turning 65. Think of the savings for our Canadian medicare system!

There are many complex issues to address before implementation of a snowbird visa and we are well underway on all of them.

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