In the recent 2017 budget, the government of Saskatchewan announced that it was raising the rate of the provincial sales tax (PST) from five per cent to six per cent. In addition to this increase, the government also announced that it would be expanding the number of goods and services subject to PST, including travel medical insurance premiums which were previously tax exempt. The effective date for the application of PST to insurance premiums is August 1, 2017.
This change will make Saskatchewan the only jurisdiction in Canada which collects retail sales tax on travel medical insurance premiums and will increase the cost of travel insurance for Saskatchewan residents. The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) is firmly opposed to the planned application of PST to travel medical insurance premiums in the province. The CSA believes that travel medical insurance premiums should remain tax exempt in Saskatchewan, as they are in every other province and territory in the country.
As you know, supplementary travel medical insurance is a necessity for those who travel outside of Canada as the government of Saskatchewan only reimburses travellers a maximum of $100 per day for emergency in-patient hospital care received abroad. Recognizing the limited emergency medical care coverage outside Canada, the government of Saskatchewan recommends that residents travelling outside of the country should obtain additional health insurance.
Moreover, travel medical insurance coverage is generally purchased from providers located outside of the province and is purchased for emergency medical care which, if required, will be obtained outside of Saskatchewan. Some provinces in Canada, such as Manitoba, exempt travel medical insurance premiums from retail sales tax because health insurance covering the health care costs of insured individuals is deemed a non-taxable insurance contract. Other provinces, such as Newfoundland and Labrador, exempt travel medical insurance premiums from retail sales tax because the insurance coverage relates to risk, peril or events outside of the province.
With over 5,000 CSA members in Saskatchewan, there is strength in numbers. This is why we are asking you to write or email your local MLA, Premier Brad Wall (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Minister of Finance Kevin Doherty (email@example.com) requesting that the government of Saskatchewan exempt travel medical insurance premiums from the provincial sales tax. Contact information for Saskatchewan MLAs can be accessed online at www.legassembly.sk.ca/mlas.
You may also find our Guidelines to Writing Government Representatives useful when composing your emails and letters. We kindly ask that members copy the CSA on the emails and letters that they send.
We will keep members updated on our progress in Saskatchewan via email, CSANews and www.snowbirds.org . If you have any questions related to this advocacy campaign, please do not hesitate to contact our office toll-free at 1-800-265-3200 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your participation in this initiative.