Feds drop 18 per cent tariff for COVID-19 protective gear

Author: James Wood 2020/05/06

The federal government is waiving the 18 per cent tariff it was charging on medical masks and other personal protective equipment to fight COVID-19 after the Canadian Taxpayers Federation blew the whistle on this issue.

“By removing financial barriers, we’re making sure Canadians and Canadian businesses can access the critical medical goods they need during the COVID-19 crisis,” stated Finance Minister Bill Morneau in a release issued May 6. “Our government remains focused on making sure workers have the protective equipment they need, that our supply chains continue to work well, and that Canadians remain safe and healthy.”

David Akin, the chief political correspondent for Global News, pointed out on Twitter that Morneau’s move came after the Canadian Taxpayers Federation published a story on the issue.

The federal government had charged an 18 per cent tariff on certain kinds of masks and other items of personal protection equipment, according to the CBSA.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation investigated the issue after Stewart Young, the mayor for Langford, British Columbia, provided documents regarding his attempt to source 252,000 medical masks for his community.

The bill totaled $308,959 and included nearly $57,000 to cover the 18 per cent tariff.

“The federal and provincial governments should not be profiting via tariffs and taxes on essential items required in the fight against COVID‐19,” wrote Young in his letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Columbia Premier John Horgan.

“Available PPE is crucial to the safety of our frontline workers and businesses and eliminating government interventions on these items will increase accessibility for those who need them most.”

According to the latest announcement from Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the cost of imported personal protective equipment will now go down, after the 18 per cent tariffs are removed.

Young was pleased to hear about the decision, and told the Canadian Taxpayers Federation that he was glad the federal government had made the change.

“The more we can buy without having to pay the export tax means more (personal protective equipment) for the general public and front-line workers, which is the goal,” said Young.

Details regarding the waivers can be found at this LINK.