For the average consumer, things might get a little pricier in Ontario. The provincial government has just finalized its plan to merge the GST and PST into a single Harmonized Sales Tax. Businesses will benefit from the proposed HST plan, which eliminates some of the provincial taxes they pay, but many consumer goods and services—like gasoline, phone bills, and airfare—will rise in price.
And it’s not just small change: province-wide, it’s estimated that consumers will pay about nine-hundred million dollars more sales tax under HST. The tax could bump up the cost of a house by over forty-six thousand dollars, and condo fees could rise by seven per cent, if NDP leader Andrea Horwath’s calculations are correct. Like Horwath, Progressive Conservative leader (and Mike Harris protégé) Tim Hudak has stood up as a staunch opponent of the tax.
It’s been confirmed that the Toronto’s St. Paul’s riding will hold its provincial by-election on September 17 to replace retired MP Michael Bryant. Residents of the St. Clair neighborhood will choose between War Child Canada co-founder Eric Hoskins (Liberal), Toronto Sun Columnist Sue-Ann Levy (PC), and Green Party candidate Chris Chopik. If Levy wins, she would be the first Conservative in a decade to do so in Toronto.
Remember the summer of man-eating ladybugs? Toronto is currently in the pinchy mandibles of another insect horde—wasps! You may have noticed their bulbous, papery nests budding off of windowsills, or sent a few of them buzzing away from your plate at patios and picnics. Toronto residents and exterminators have been reporting a spike in the city’s population of the stinging insects, which entomologists say is due this year’s mild winter. So there’s one plague you can’t blame on the garbage strike…but there are always rats!
The Toronto Humane Society has barred seven former employees and volunteers who made statements critical of the organization. Rejection letters cited a number of reasons, ranging from publishing pamphlets that “appear to defame” the Society, to allegedly stealing a puppy from the shelter. It seems like the whole debacle might be an attempt by THS President Tim Trow to keep a tighter leash on his organization.
And if you’re planning to get your driver’s licence, you might want to set aside some money for next month’s Metropass, just in case. DriveTest, the union-staffed private company that runs all of Ontario’s road tests, may go on strike, if talks over a new contract don’t go well today. The bargaining, which has already gone past the strike deadline, has so far failed to satisfy the union, which voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike mandate. The province is considering extending existing licences so that current drivers don’t lose their road privileges as a result of the labour dispute.