The following is a statement on proposed federal tax changes from Doctors of BC President Dr Trina Larsen Soles:
The federal government has launched a consultation on proposed changes to how private corporations are taxed which, if implemented, will create significant financial challenges for physicians and threaten our ability to care for patients.
Physicians in community-based practices form private corporations because they do not have the benefits that go to salaried employees. Over 30% of fees go toward overhead costs, including equipment and salaries for staff who support families and pay taxes. Staff receive benefits, as employees, that are not available to physician employers. Doctors, unlike civil servants, pay for their own medical coverage, extended health benefits and pensions. Incorporation goes some way toward balancing this, compensating physicians in a fair and reasonable manner.
The impact of the proposed changes will also be felt by patients. In BC, more medical students are now choosing to become family doctors. If the proposed changes become law, reducing physicians’ income to the point where it is difficult to run a practice, those numbers will drop. That’s not what we need at a time when the province faces a significant challenge to meet patient demand for care. The same holds true for community-based Specialists. By necessity, many are in solo practice or smaller groups, and often have specialized and expensive equipment needs in addition to higher staffing costs.
Doctors of BC will work with the Canadian Medical Association and other medical associations across the country to ensure physicians’ voices are heard on this issue that is critically important for doctors, patients and our health care system.
For more detailed information on how the tax changes will impact physicians, click here (pdf).
Update: On Thursday August 3rd, Dr Trina Larsen Soles addressed this subject further in a blog post written to members: "Physicians share their stories – why the federal government’s tax change is the wrong thing to do"
In addition, we urge physicians to write to their Member of Parliament and copy the federal Minister of Finance, Minister of Health and the Prime Minister. A template letter can be found here (.docx) for member use.