Quebec proposes health tax relief for small employers

Quebec is proposing a reduction in certain employers’ contribution rates to the Health Services Fund, which finances the provincial health insurance and drug plan.

Under Bill 112, which was introduced by Quebec’s Minister of Finance Carlos Leitão in November, small companies in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and mining will be most affected, says Philippe Laplante, a principal at Eckler in Montreal. Currently contribution rates vary from 1.6 per cent for companies with less than $1 million in payroll costs to 4.26 per cent for those with more than $5 million in payroll costs. If the bill passes, rates will drop to 1.45 per cent for companies with less than $1 million on payroll. For small companies in other sectors, the contribution rates will drop from 2.7 per cent to 2 per cent.

He notes that while the change would be “a welcome relief for small businesses,” it wouldn’t have “that much” of an effect on their bottom lines.

Read: Quebec budget cuts HSF contributions

The bill also proposes including definitions of “eligible spouse,” “eligible expenses” and “in vitro fertilization cycle” to help Quebec residents determine which fertility treatments result in tax relief.

Laplante notes few Quebec employers currently offer IVF treatments as part of their group benefits plans because the government covers it. But as the province moves towards tax credits instead of covering IVF, “some employers will have a decision to make, saying ‘maybe we’ll help with that, or not.’ But I haven’t seen any very specific discussions around that.”

Read: The challenges of infertility in the workplace

Editor’s note: This article was updated at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, December 8 to clarify proposed contribution rates.