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(Medicine Hat) The Medicine Hat & District Board of Directors held their last board meeting of 2018 on December 19th and finished the year with two new policies adopted and one completed.
The Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce is committed to ensuring that businesses are treated equally and receive fair tax treatment. With the recent legalization of cannabis on October 17, 2018, both federal and provincial governments have placed excise taxes on cannabis products, including medical cannabis authorized by a physician.
‘We are concerned with the decision by both the provincial and federal governments to apply revenue generating taxes on medicinal cannabis,’ stated Sarah MacKenzie, President of the Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce. ‘This new tax is seen as disproportionately impacting one industry in comparison to others in the pharmaceutical industry.’
Medicinal cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001. Prior to October 17, 2018, the 269,000 registered medical cannabis patients in Canada paid GST/PST/HST, with 112,000 of those patients residing in Alberta. These patients take cannabis products to relieve symptoms from various conditions, including chronic pain disorders, arthritis, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and epilepsy. Many of these illnesses make it difficult, and sometimes, impossible for individuals to continue regular employment.
‘Not only are both provincial and federal governments applying an economic burden on some of the most vulnerable in our community, but they are choosing to treat medical cannabis differently from other prescription medications which are tax exempt. As of October 2018 Albertans have experienced new taxes that will see the largest tax increase on medical cannabis among all provinces. New excise taxes and GST will amount to 24.3% from the province and 2.5% from the federal government, increasing the tax burden on medical cannabis by 26.8%,’ further stated MacKenzie.
In addition to the new policies, the Board of Directors was able to mark their policy “Enhancing Municipal Finance Planning and Tax Equity” as completed. The recommendations, which focused on the tax share proportions and burden per unit of assessed value, along with long term municipal financial plans, were met with the adoption of the new Municipal Government Act.
‘We were pleased to be a part of the consultations that occurred prior to the modernization of the Municipal Government Act,’ commented President Sarah MacKenzie. ‘By clearly stating our objectives to government we continue to influence policy makers and to improve governance and by advocating for the issues that have an impact on our members.’
MacKenzie concluded by stating, ‘We will continue to monitor government and voice the concerns of our members. Advocacy efforts are founded on identifying issues, doing our research and then providing solutions based on fair and reasonable expectations of equitable treatment. We are committed to our advocacy process and know that when applied, we can bring about resolutions that will strengthen our region, which, ultimately, benefits not only our members, but all those who live in our region.”
To read the full policies and all our recommendations visit the advocacy page on our website here:
Please direct all media inquiries to:
Sarah MacKenzie
2018-2019 President, Chamber of Commerce
(403) 527-5214 ext.221

The Chamber of Commerce is a member-driven, volunteer-led organization, proudly representing the interests of businesses in our region, and working diligently to stimulate a strengthened and vibrant economy through our connections, support and influence. For more than 115 years, the Chamber has stood for promoting business, monitoring government and championing managed growth in the local economy. The Chamber represents over 800 businesses in our region and is aligned with both the Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC), which represents over 25,000 businesses and the Canadian Chambers of Commerce (CCC), which represents over 200,000 businesses. With the largest and most influential business organizations locally, provincially and federally, the Chamber network is the most unified, valued and influential business network in Canada and works together to shape policy and programs that will make a difference to businesses in our region.

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