YORKTON – Saskatchewan’s fitness industry is not looking to shoulder the provincial government’s PST burden.
An advocacy group recently launched a petition, which has been signed by around 5,000 people. He calls on the government to abandon its 6% hike, which is due to come into effect in October.
For those who are at the local level, this is not appreciated.
“People are very frustrated because the prices [are rising] at all levels,” said Edward de Vries, owner of Yorkton’s Anytime Fitness. “Rising food costs. Fuel costs are rising. Housing costs are rising. It seems to be just another thing the government is burdening the citizens with. »
De Vries was quick to point out the various benefits the gym industry offers to the public.
“We are part of health care. We help keep a lot of people out of primary care. We can help shorten queues to all urgent care services with the things we offer,” he said.
“And I think by adding additional costs to citizens, it will make them less healthy.
The rise in PST is also attracting attention across the country. The Fitness Industry Council of Canada has offered the aforementioned petition to those online, using change.org. It had 4,955 signatures as of Monday afternoon.
Its president, Sarah Hodson, told CTV News the decision was “short-sighted.”
“In fact, (the) fitness tax…is kind of similar to what Sesame Street taught us as kids – one of those things just doesn’t belong,” he said. -she explains. “Fitness does not belong in an entertainment category. It is fundamental to the future of our healthcare system and to the financial burden that is coming to our healthcare system.
Hodson said the provincial government’s decision contrasts with what the rest of the country is doing.
“In many other provinces — and at the federal level — we’re moving toward financial incentives for people to participate in physical activity,” Hodson said.
“So that’s a completely upside-down thought.”
The province expanded the PST to cover a backlog of surgeries in Saskatchewan. Shortly after its announcement, the federal government said it would commit about $2 billion for the same reason. Saskatchewan would receive about $62 million from the fund.
The increase will amount to around $5 to $6 per month for the average gym member. Hodson said people would benefit from the opposite of what the tax was created for.
“Gym goers will likely pay that extra 6% because they’re already active. They have already incorporated this healthy habit into their lives,” she said.
“But when we look at people and mental health in this country is at its lowest it’s ever been, and we try to encourage people to adopt healthy behaviors, we put a tax on that. … This is not the time or the place to do it.
In a statement, the finance ministry said the government was making the change “to improve income stability”.
“The current application of the PST is expanded to match the federal GST for admissions, entertainment and recreation. A more stable revenue base helps ensure the sustainability of priority services and programs,” the statement continued.
PST will come into effect on October 1, 2022.