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City resolution aims to close tax loopholes on Canadian corporations

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
February 21st, 2020

The city is wearing its heart on its sleeve when it comes to provincial resolutions.

Several of Nelson city council’s resolutions — to be submitted at the next annual regional municipality meeting in April — will deal with the upper levels of government eradicating or tightening the loopholes for large corporations operating in B.C.

The first resolution — put forward by Coun. Brittny Anderson — asked the federal government to close federal corporate tax loopholes to fund climate-related adaptation and mitigation.

In the background for the resolution, Anderson noted that municipalities across Canada were struggling with downloading of costs relating to services, infrastructure and housing.

In addition, local governments were forced to compete for grants to pay for projects, putting communities in competition with each other, instead of collaboration.

“Municipalities have limited progressive ways to increase our tax revenue and are reluctant to increase property taxes or sell public assets to do the necessary work, despite our need to reinvest in aging infrastructure and ensure people in our community have adequate supports,” she wrote. 

“We are unable to tax corporations or particularly affluent segments of our communities; however, even if we could, this would not provide much funding for low income and remote communities that do not house those entities.”

She pointed to a Canada Revenue Agency report from 2019 that illustrated the fact Canadian corporations in 2014 paid up to $11.4 billion less than they should have.

That contrasted with most local governments having to increase property taxes to fund planning, infrastructure and other necessary projects within their communities.

“Closing tax loopholes for corporations and redistribution of those funds to local governments and indigenous communities would provide that funding, and currently it is owed to the people of Canada,” Coun. Anderson said in her resolution background.

The second resolution dealt with emergency management, namely, personal accountability in emergency preparedness. The issue was briefly discussed by city council at the Jan. 13 regular council meeting.

“As the province moves towards modernizing the Emergency Program Act which set out the responsibilities of the province and of local authorities related to emergency preparedness, response and recovery, it is equally important for the province to emphasize and address the importance of personal accountability,” noted a city staff report to council on the resolution.

“Helping communities understand the risks they face, and informing individuals about what they can do to be prepared in the event of an emergency is vital to emergency preparedness.”

Part of that help includes having emergency “grab and go” bags prepared, and maintaining evacuation plans.

Further afield

A second resolution was submitted by Coun. Anderson but it was regarding natural solutions to “climate-relate adaptation and mitigation” for submission to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

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