Physicians express continued concern about proposed federal tax changes

New Brunswick doctors met today at the New Brunswick Medical Society’s (NBMS) Annual General Meeting to discuss the proposed federal tax changes and how they will affect their ability to practice in the province.

Canadian Medical Association (CMA) President Dr. Laurent Marcoux, NBMS President Dr. Lynn Murphy-Kaulbeck, and Dr. Tim Wallace of Doctors Nova Scotia spoke to the media on behalf of doctors, emphasizing their concerns with the federal government’s decision to changes tax rules for small, incorporated business owners, a group that includes many health professionals.

“The NBMS is supporting the Canadian Medical Association in its stance that the timelines established for the Federal consultations to assess the possible consequences of the tax changes are unrealistic,” said Dr. Lynn Murphy-Kaulbeck. “Fee-for-service physicians use legitimate tax planning to mitigate the risks associated with self-employment and save for retirement. The proposed tax changes will destabilize this.”

The CMA urges the federal government to take the time that is necessary to get this right. The organizations representing doctors have identified many unintended consequences that need to be addressed before these proposals are implemented.
“The proposals announced in July have far-reaching implications and, we believe, unintended tax consequences,” said Dr. Marcoux. “As a result, we strongly urge the government to undertake a comprehensive review of the tax system to fully assess the impact on all sectors.”

“Physicians are concerned about patient care in Nova Scotia as evidenced at a recent physician town hall meeting with elected officials,” explained Dr. Tim Wallace on behalf of Doctors Nova Scotia. “Nova Scotia is already struggling to recruit and retain physicians and these tax changes will make that worse. This is happening in an environment where physicians are already feeling overburdened, undervalued and disrespected by the provincial government and Nova Scotia Health Authority.”

Dr. Lynn Dwyer, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, was unable to attend the event, but passed along her support for her counterparts.

“The right to allow medical professionals to incorporate has enhanced Newfoundland and Labrador’s ability to recruit and retain physicians by allowing the province to compete with other jurisdictions. We believe that provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador that have largely rural, generalist-based systems may be disproportionately affected by the proposed tax changes if physicians leave to practice in areas where there is higher earning potential,” said Dr. Dwyer.

Doctors are essential to thriving communities in both local and urban settings. In addition to the care they provide to their patients, as small business operators, they contribute to the local economy by creating jobs locally, purchasing supplies, renting buildings, paying utilities and insurance.

Media Contacts:

New Brunswick Medical Society: 506-478-7469.
Canadian Medical Association: 613-806-1865
Doctors Nova Scotia: 902-483-6462
Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association: 709-691-0928