Omicron blues, green taxation, anti-vax tax, and more 

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TORONTO, Jan. 23, 2022 – Health professionals are cautiously optimistic that the Omicron variant is reaching its peak in many areas of Canada. As far as Canadian accountants are concerned, the peak can’t come soon enough. According to the latest CPA Canada Business Monitor, supply chain concerns paired with the resurgent pandemic are the top two challenges to the growth of the Canadian economy, cited by chartered professional accountants in business leadership positions. 

Only 43 per cent of respondents surveyed in the fourth quarter were optimistic about Canada’s economic prospects over the next 12 months, down significantly from 52 per cent the previous quarter. The number of survey participants expressing outright pessimism remains basically unchanged (19 per cent in Q4 versus 20 per cent in Q3) but the number who remained cautiously neutral has grown to 38 per cent from 28 per cent. 

“For almost two years now, the pandemic and its economic fallout have put Canadians and our economy on an unprecedented and challenging course,” explained Charles-Antoine St-Jean, president and CEO, CPA Canada. “Business ingenuity and major contributions from governments have helped us weather the storm but, with the spread of Omicron, the private and public sectors must continue to work together to manage the evolving situation.” 

Seems like CPAs have the Omicron blues. Or more precisely, the supply chain blues. The top five challenges to Canadian economy identified by respondents in Q4 were supply chain issues (20 per cent), negative effects of COVID-19 (18 per cent), the rise in inflation (15 per cent) and employee recruitment, retention and development (15 per cent) and a lack of skilled workers (eight per cent). 

Further information can be found in the survey’s background document, which is available online at cpacanada.ca/businessmonitorQ42021. And now, on to the rest of the odds and ends of news from the past week in Canadian accounting. Since we did not publish a news roundup last week, this edition covers the past two weeks. 

Quebec to tax the unvaccinated

Two weeks ago, Premier Francois Legault took a jab at the unvaccinated, needling them with the threat of a health tax and taking away their right to buy booze and tokes at the provinces liquor and cannabis stores. The latter shot apparently worked while the media has spilled a lot of red ink over the idea of an anti-vax tax. The National Post says Legault may be bluffing. What a prick. 

More (and more) mergers and acquisitions

Where do we start? Well, Dean Sinclair Chartered Professional Accountants — a prominent firm in Pembroke, Ontario — joined Baker Tilly REO, a larger regional firm in Eastern Ontario. And Ross & Sylvestre LLP in the Edmonton region of Alberta also joined the Baker Tilly network and rebranded as Baker Tilly RSG. 

And MNP continues its buying spree in Quebec, acquiring Groupe TRIGONE, a performance optimization consulting firm. TRIGONE employs 21 professionals and has offices in Chicoutimi, Montréal and Québec City, as well as operations in France (which are not part of the merger with MNP). 

If it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck …

Was Andrea Horvath (not Andrea Horwath), a chartered professional accountant employed at Ducks Unlimited Canada, fired without just cause? If you’re looking for an HR perspective on the story, HR Reporter weighed in on the case, with B.C. worker fired over vaccine mandate

Trust tax reporting rules get a reprieve

In case you weren’t aware, the Canada Revenue Agency released an update on January 14, declaring that it will not administer trust tax filings under more intensive rules, until the supporting legislation receives royal assent. You can read more about the update here on Advisor’s Edge. 

PwC, Chamber of Commerce, team up on tax study

According to the Globe and Mail, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce sponsored a study from PwC, looking at whether Canada or the US was a better investment environment for three green industries: an EV battery plant, a vaccine production plant, and a copper mine (wha’?). The result? Canada’s tax advantage in two out of three of the categories is “fragile.” 

The inevitable takeaway? Cut corporate taxes, of course. Even Patrick Brethour, the reporter, seems to cast a little (but respectful, of course) shade on the study: “… the analysis did not (and could not) capture the risk associated with the Buy America sentiment that continues to gather strength. Faced with two investments with similar costs, any prudent business would have to think hard about locating outside the United States.” 

Scrap the carbon capture tax credit

Four hundred climate scientists have signed a petition asking the Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to scrap a proposed tax credit for oil and gas companies that build carbon capture and storage facilities. The scientists say the idea will simply prolong the fossil fuel industry. For another take on the general topic of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, read Canada’s biggest emitters are paying the lowest carbon tax rate, published this past week by Corporate Knights. 

LiveCA launches job board

We got an email from the folks at LiveCA, “Canada’s first and largest online accounting firm,” that they had launched a job board: https://www.cloudaccountingjobs.com/. It includes jobs located in the USA and lists job description details and salaries. Check it out. 

Quick Hits

Taxpayer tests RRSP contribution limits and winds up on the wrong side of the CRA (Financial Post)
Is the U.S. purposely under-reporting inflation? It’s hard not to wonder when you look at how it’s calculated (Toronto Star)
Squabbles over a ring provide estate planning lessons for the rest of us (Globe and Mail)
Interest rates are going up — here’s how to protect your wealth when they do (Toronto Star)

By Canadian Accountant staff.

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