Today, Premier Scott Moe told Saskatchewan families his government will reinstate the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) exemption for agriculture, life and health insurance premiums.
“Our government will help families and small businesses save money, invest and help our province grow,” Moe said in a statement. “Part of that commitment is to exempt agriculture, life and health insurance from PST.”
The exemption, effective today, includes crop, livestock and hail insurance premiums as well as individual and group life and health insurance premiums.
Todd Lewis, President of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), said he was very happy to hear about the exemption. He said producers are consumers of big products and insurance is one of them.
"It's not unusual for between crop insurance and all the other insurance products we use that lots of farms have a $100,000 insurance bill each year. So it doesn't take long for the PST to run into the thousands of dollars and it comes straight off our bottom line," he said.
The exemption is retroactive to August 1, 2017 — the date PST was applied to insurance. Lewis said that too was an important piece to include. Lewis said many farmers understand the government is in tough financial times.
"They're trying to balance a budget and everything else but there's other ways that they could find that money [other] than putting PST on some of our inputs because that's a pretty big issue," he said.
Rick Toney, Chair of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association, was equally impressed with the announcement by the premier. He said producers were quite concerned with staying competitive after the budget came down.
"Crop insurance being cheaper in other segments of the country and that this was gonna put us out," he said.
Toney said he hopes the provincial government will go a step farther and announce changes to the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Program. The Provincial Agriculture Minister is scheduled to make an announcement Tuesday in Regina concerning the 2018 Crop Insurance program.
"We've had lots of consultation with the government on crop insurance and hopefully they'll be listening again," Toney said.
On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell
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