Today’s Poll

Public engagement on HST policy announced

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
April 17th, 2011

The Provincial government is launching a public engagement process to consider options to improve the Harmonized Sales Tax.

The Talking Taxes public engagement provides a timely and important opportunity for government to listen to the public and help determine what improvements may be made to the HST.

Talking Taxes events will begin this week and will include:

• Provincewide tele-town halls conducted by region

• Stakeholder meetings with a wide variety of groups with interest in the HST

• Website information and suggestions for improvement

Specific dates and further details on the Talking Taxes events will be made public this week.



Learn More:

For more information about the HST and the public engagement process, visit:



$1.7 million announced for HST referendum public engagement


VICTORIA—Government will provide $1.7 million in funding to ensure that well-informed public engagement on the Harmonized Sales Tax occurs across the province in advance of the referendum, Attorney General Barry Penner announced today.


Under the plan government will:

·         Provide a total of $500,000 for the “yes” and “no” sides, subject to conditions on the appropriate use of public funding and accountability for spending.

·         Create a Public Dialogues Fund of $500,000 to be independently managed by the province’s public universities, colleges and institutes to hold informative public dialogues in advance of the referendum.

·         Produce and send a comprehensive voter’s guide to every home in British Columbia with information on the referendum including statements provided directly by the main “yes” and “no” groups, a summary of the independent panel report on the HST, and other information to help inform voters about the referendum ballot. The cost of this guide is approximately $700,000.


In order to ensure a fair process for allocating public funding and mediate any disputes over the format and locations for the public dialogues, the Honourable Stephen Owen, QC, PC has been appointed as an independent funding decision-maker. Owen, a former B.C. Ombudsman, is acting in a personal capacity utilizing his extensive background in public engagement and mediation. He will make public funding allocation decisions for both sides as well as finalizing an appropriate format and locations for the public dialogues.


The public universities, colleges and institutes will engage a project manager to be accountable for managing and executing the public engagement program.


Terms of reference for the independent funding decision-maker are attached in the backgrounder.



Attorney General Barry Penner

“We have heard very clearly that British Columbians want fact-based information on the referendum. The provision of public funding for “yes” and “no” sides, along with independently-run public dialogues and a voter’s guide, will ensure a thorough and thoughtful debate about returning to both the PST and GST sales tax system or keeping the single HST.”


“We also understand that there continues to be considerable confusion and poor information about the HST, as well as what it means to go back to both the PST and GST. In addition to this public dialogue funding, government will also continue to provide fact-based information to voters in order to ensure we have as informed a referendum as possible.”


Learn More:

For more information about the HST referendum, visit:


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