For many in Saskatchewan, one of the biggest surprises in Wednesday’s budget was the expanded application of provincial sales taxes.
Provincial sales tax (PST) will now be added to admission and entertainment charges.
This comes on the heels of two difficult years in the hospitality and entertainment sectors and some say this is only going to make the recovery harder.
The additional tax will be implemented in October 2022.
Where will PST be added?
The sales tax will now apply to:
- sporting events
- gym memberships
- green fees at golf courses
There are many other services to which the tax will apply, however, there are exemptions for children’s activities, amateur events and events run by schools and non-profits.
This change is projected to add $10.5 million in PST revenue over the next year, and $21 million annually.
The provincial government said the added six per cent tax will help clear the surgical backlog left over from the pandemic.
“Saskatchewan has been fortunate to have the resources that we have but we need to be careful that we’re not hiring doctors, hiring nurses, hiring teachers or firing doctors, nurses, teachers, on what the price of oil is or the price of potash,” said Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe.
Stephanie Clovechok with Tourism Saskatchewan said the industries being impacted by the change are among some of the hardest hit by closures and mandates.
“Our recovery is set for 2026 and even beyond in terms of revenue and visitation levels and so it really couldn’t come at a worse time,” said Clovechok.
A small business co-owner of Bodhi Tree Yoga in Regina, Colin Hall, said he understands the money is needed to help clear emergency rooms and surgical waitlists, but that it should not come at a cost to other Saskatchewan businesses.
“I don’t count for them, it doesn’t seem like I matter as much,” Hall said as he compared the yoga studio to larger sectors in the province such as oil and gas.
Many in the impacted industries said they feel let down by the decision and some remain confused.
“I would say sector wide, nobody’s happy right now with regards to the provincial sales tax,” said Clovechok.
With the impact on their businesses, Saskatchewan’s economy could see a hit as well.
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