The recent changes to the HST brought in by the Provincial Liberals were obviously as well thought out as was its initial introduction. Offering $175 cheques to some seniors can at best be described as bribery to accept the HST.
When the HST was introduced seniors and others on limited incomes bore the brunt of the changes because many of the exemptions from PST were eliminated under HST thereby increasing the tax payable to 12 per cent, from five per cent.
Seniors buy products like Tylenol or Tums from the local pharmacy because they are essential for daily comfort. As individual needs vary so much it is not possible to estimate how much that extra seven per cent tax amounts to per year. However without the ability to purchase these products the overall health of some seniors will deteriorate and the provincial health care system will the have to pick up the tab for the extra visits to GPs and emergency departments.
For many seniors to stay at home they have to pay privately for some home care as they may be unable to perform light cleaning tasks , shop for their basic needs or need a ride to the doctor’s office. This type of service is not available through VIHA within the provincial system. If that payment was only $50 per week, or $2,600 per year, the additional seven per cent HST would be $182. Many need more help than this and are paying $50 and more per month HST compared to PST. If they were unable to pay for these services they would have to go ‘into care’
The additional seven per cent HST will be devastating for many seniors on Vancouver Island.