The Province has established a task force of experts to advise the government on eliminating Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums within four years, Finance Minister Carole James announced today.
“People know that MSP premiums are unfair and place significant burden on British Columbian families. Today, we are initiating a process that will eliminate these regressive fees,” James said. “By engaging a panel of respected experts in economics, law and public policy, we will ensure the path we take is fiscally responsible, fair and evidence-based.”
The MSP Task Force will examine the best approach to replacing the revenue from eliminating MSP premiums. Its final report is due to government by March 31, 2018. The task force’s work will include an opportunity for British Columbians, businesses, academics and other stakeholders to express their views. People are encouraged to bring their ideas to this consultation process at: engage.gov.bc.ca/msptaskforce/
Prof. Lindsay Tedds has been appointed as chair of the task force. Tedds is an associate professor in the school of public administration at the University of Victoria. She is a renowned expert in applied economic research and policy analysis, with a particular focus on the design and implementation of tax policy. Paul Ramsey and Prof. David Duff join Tedds on the task force.
The Budget 2017 Update announced the government’s plans to cut MSP premiums by 50%, effective Jan. 1, 2018. This reduction will save individuals up to $450 per year, and families up to $900 per year. The budget update also raised the income threshold below which households are fully exempt from MSP premiums by $2,000.
This means senior couples with a net income up to $35,000 will pay no premiums in 2018. Single parents with two children and a net income up to $32,000 will pay no premiums.
For more about the MSP Task Force and to submit your ideas: engage.gov.bc.ca/msptaskforce/
Two backgrounders follow, including a backgrounder with biographies of the MSP Task Force members.
Sonja ZoellerMinistry of Finance
The Government of British Columbia is committed to eliminating Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums within four years. As a first step, the government has reduced MSP premiums for all individuals and families by 50%, effective Jan. 1, 2018.
MSP premiums are regressive, expensive to administer, impose a compliance burden on individuals, families and businesses, and lead to significant bad debt expenses for government.
Therefore, the Minister of Finance is establishing an MSP Task Force to advise the Province on how best to complete the elimination of MSP premiums and replace the foregone revenue from premiums.
The Task Force’s work will include:
- An opportunity for B.C. citizens, businesses and interested parties to express their views on replacing MSP premiums;
- Identification of options for replacing MSP revenue, including what has been done in other provinces;
- An analysis of options with respect to:
- business competitiveness;
- simplicity; and
- revenue stability.
The options put forward must result in a more progressive tax system and eliminate MSP premiums within four years. The options may not propose retaining MSP premiums, nor increasing the provincial sales tax.
The Task Force will provide the Minister of Finance a written report that includes:
- Identification and analysis of issues within the context of the scope of the Task Force;
- Identification of all options considered;
- An evaluation of those options including their impacts on:
- British Columbians;
- tax policy principles; and
- provincial revenues and costs.
- Recommendations on the best options for replacing MSP premium revenue;
- Recommendations on a strategy and timing to implement recommended options; and
- A summary of the public consultations including issues raised and solutions put forward for the Task Force’s consideration.
The Minister of Finance must receive a final report by March 31, 2018.
Secretariat and Ministry Support
- Any costs such as secretariat support, meeting space, advertising, etc., associated with the Task Force will be the responsibility of the Province.
- The Province will be responsible to provide the appropriate resources that in the Task Force’s judgement are required to fulfil its purposes. This may include:
- Economic modelling expertise;
- Policy and legislation expertise;
- Legal and accounting tax expertise; and
- Technological support (i.e., website, email, social media).
Lindsay Tedds, chair
Lindsay Tedds is an associate professor in the school of public administration at the University of Victoria and is a research fellow in the school of public policy at the University of Calgary. She has also held several posts with the Government of Canada in Ottawa in the areas of public economics and policy implementation.
Tedds holds a bachelor of arts (BA) in political science from Carleton University, a BA and master of arts in economics from the University of Victoria, and a PhD in economics from McMaster University. She has previously held a faculty appointment at the University of Manitoba.
Tedds' research interests include: public economics, economics of taxation, tax non-compliance, underground economy, executive compensation, taxation of long-term incentive awards, user-fee design and implementation, and applied microeconomics.
Paul Ramsey is a Canadian academic and former politician. Ramsey was elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for Prince George North in 1991 and re-elected in 1996, serving until 2001.
Ramsey received bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees in English in the United States before moving to the University of British Columbia. He held teaching and administrative jobs at institutions in the United States and Canada. From 1975 until 2005, he worked as an instructor and administrator at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George.
His first cabinet appointment was as parliamentary secretary to the minister of Forests. Over his political career, Ramsey held ministerial posts in Health; Education, Skills and Training; Environment, Lands and Parks; Finance and Corporate Relations; and Northern Development.
Until his retirement in 2005, Ramsey was a visiting professor in political science at the University of Northern British Columbia.
David Duff is professor of law and director of the tax LLM program at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches and writes in the areas of tax law and policy, corporate and international taxation, environmental taxation and distributive justice.
Prior to joining UBC Law in 2009, Duff was a faculty member of the University of Toronto, faculty of law. Duff has published numerous articles on tax law and policy, is the primary author of Canadian Income Tax Law (5th ed., 2015) and The Taxation of Business Organizations in Canada (2015), and has co-edited books on tax avoidance in Canada, Canadian climate change policy, and environmental taxation.
He has written several articles on tax avoidance and the interpretation of tax legislation and tax treaties, and was cited extensively by the Supreme Court of Canada in its decision on the Canadian General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) in Copthorne Holdings Ltd. v. Canada, 2011 SCC 63.