The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance issued its 145-page report on the prebudget consultation process. Although the Canadian Trucking Alliance’s (CTA) request to restore federal excise tax refunds did not make the list of recommended items in that report, it was mentioned as part of the official opposition’s dissenting report to the Finance Committee.
Among its own recommendations on taxes, spending, and job creation, the dissenting opinion reflected part of CTA’s submission by calling on for the federal government to “restore the excise tax exemption for diesel fuel used by anti-idling devices.”
CTA VP Stephen Laskowski welcomed the report’s recognition that taxing the fuel required to run these environmental devices makes for an inconsistent tax policy.
“This is a good start to our campaign designed to raise awareness in Ottawa of the need to restore our sector’s ability to claim federal excise tax refunds used for anti-idling devices that help keep drivers warm and cool in their living spaces while on the road,” said Laskowski. “However, it’s equally important the government also restores exemptions for fuel used to control the temperature of precious goods and pharmaceutical cargo as well as operate power-takeoff units.”
According to Natural Resources Canada, anti-idling devices reduce the amount of truck idling across Canada by 3 per cent each year, leading to significant reductions of carbon and other air emissions. Removing the federal excise tax exemption could deter the purchase of these environmentally-friendly technologies in the Canadian trucking sector.
Laskowski also pointed out Ottawa’s inconsistent application of the tax in certain areas.
“The Excise Tax Act still contains some provisions that exempt the excise tax in specific circumstances, such as diesel fuel used as home heating oil. Somehow, though, a truck cab is not included,” explains Laskowski. “We think this is flat-out wrong. How can you deny the federal excise tax rebates on the fuel used to heat and cool hundreds of thousands of truck drivers during mandatory rest periods while still claiming you don’t tax home heating oil?”
“To a long-haul truck driver, a truck and sleeper berth is as much of a home as is their residential address. Taxing the diesel to keep truckers warm at night while they are helping build our economy is, at its very least, an inconsistent tax policy.”
CTA remains hopeful the Government of Canada will revisit its position on federal excise tax rebates to operate anti-idling devices as well as refrigerated trailers and energy-saving power take off-units.
CTA has launched a national awareness campaign to let carriers inform Ottawa that green trucking doesn’t include scrapping the excise tax rebate. Participation is as easy as clicking one button. Go here for details.