As part of the 2017 budget, the government of Saskatchewan both raised the rate of the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) from five per cent to six per cent and applied PST to an increased number of goods and services including travel medical insurance premiums. This change made Saskatchewan the only province in Canada to collect retail sales tax on premiums paid for travel medical insurance coverage.
In response, representatives from the Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) met with the Saskatchewan Minister of Health, the Honourable Jim Reiter to express our firm opposition to the application of PST to travel medical insurance premiums. During this meeting we outlined our case that these premiums should continue to be tax exempt on the basis that 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. We also emphasized the limited emergency medical care coverage the government of Saskatchewan provides to residents who travel outside of Canada, making supplementary private coverage a necessity.
In addition, we also asked our Saskatchewan members to participate in a write-in campaign. The CSA was copied on hundreds of emails and letters which were sent to the Premier and the Minister of Finance requesting a reversal of this unfair tax policy.
Today, we are pleased to announce that Premier Scott Moe will reinstate the PST exemption for agriculture, life and health insurance premiums and that this exemption will be retroactive to August 1, 2017 – the date PST was initially applied to insurance premiums. More detailed information related to how refunds will be administered will be made available prior to the release of the provincial budget on April 10.
We would like to thank Premier Scott Moe for implementing this change, as well as the Minister of Health Jim Reiter for listening to our concerns on this policy. Further, we would also like to thank our membership in Saskatchewan whose emails and letters played a vital role in having the PST exemption reinstated.
If you have any questions or comments related to this policy change, or any other issue, please contact the CSA office toll-free at 1-800-265-3200 or email us at email@example.com.