The government has finally listened to the Royal Canadian Legion and Canada’s New Democrats and will remove the sales tax from the purchase of poppies and wreaths for the Legion’s annual poppy campaign. When the Harmonized Sales Tax was implemented in Ontario and B.C. this summer, the production of poppies fell under the new tax system since a private firm in Toronto makes the poppies. This means they would have been subjected to a 13 per cent tax.
The move will save Legions across the country around $780,000 a year.
“Charging HST on poppies and wreaths is just plain wrong,” said BC Southern Interior New Democratic MP Alex Atamanenko. “The poppy campaign is a crucial fundraising tool for the Royal Canadian Legion. By charging 13 per cent HST on the purchase of poppies, the federal government was inadvertently hurting veterans and their families.”
“Legions lose an extra 13 per cent of their costs in purchasing the poppies from their supplier in Toronto, which will come out of the millions of dollars donated by Canadians when they buy poppies every year for Remembrance Day,” said NDP MP Malcolm Allen (Welland).
This HST comes at an unfortunate time, as legions need those funds more than ever to support our military, police and veterans, and their families.
Allen’s Private Members Bill, C-480, An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act, first tabled on November 5th, 2009, called for the tax to be removed from poppies and wreaths purchased for the benefit of veterans, and would allow the legions to recoup the 5 per cent federal portion of the HST.
Distribution of the national campaign is set to roll out on October 29 in advance of Remembrance Day on November 11. Approximately 18 million poppies are distributed each year in remembrance of Canada's military service around the world.
This article is a press release from Alex Atamanenko's office.