Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray is trying to have the excise tax affecting Okanagan alcohol producers debated in Parliament. It’s defined as an escalator tax, which means it increases automatically. It’s tied to the Consumer Price Index which is tied to inflation.
“It affects wineries, cideries, breweries, and distilleries,” said Gray. “For all of those manufacturers, and most of those businesses are small businesses, it’ll just be a hit to their bottom line. They’ve already been hit by the pandemic, reduced sales and payroll tax increases as of Jan 1.”
Gray added those businesses will have to make the decision whether to pass the tax increase on to the consumer, which will ultimately increase inflation again.
“We don’t think that the government should be increasing any taxes for businesses at this time.”
The excise tax will be higher this year because inflation last year was higher Gray said.
“We’re already tracking considerably higher going into next year so this will increase next year’s excise taxes,” she said. “It’s very concerning because it’s just another cost that a business owner has to incur that just takes money right out of their bottom line.”
Gray said she has been consulting with stakeholders to understand their concerns and take the issue to Parliament.
“There’s a lot of other national organizations that have spoken out against it, like Canadian Federated Independent Business, and a lot of the national and local groups, whether they represent wineries breweries that are of course against this. Now is not the time we should be increasing any taxes on businesses.”