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Provincial Taxation of Insurance Premiums: The Way Forward


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Roundtable Luncheon with Alex Laurin, Jack Mintz and Sarah Noftell
Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - 12:00 to 13:30
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Toronto ON, C.D. Howe Institute, 67 Yonge Street, Suite 300
  • Provincial Taxation of Insurance Premiums: The Way Forward

C.D. Howe Institute events are open to members and their guests. Members can register online by signing in here, or contacting cdhoweevents@cdhowe.org.

Many are unaware that insurance premiums embed a hidden provincial premium tax ranging from two to five percent. In addition, four provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and as of August 1, 2017, Saskatchewan) charge a retail sales tax on top, effectively a tax on a tax. Provinces collect more than $7 billion annually from such taxes, yet the tax policy literature specifically on this topic is practically silent.

The C.D. Howe Institute will be releasing a paper to coincide with this roundtable luncheon that looks at the problem and how the taxation hurts consumers. Join us for a timely discussion on the findings of the report, as well as recommendations for the way forward.


Alex Laurin, Director of Research, C.D. Howe Institute

Alexandre Laurin joined the C.D. Howe Institute in 2008 and became Director of Research in 2014.

From 1999 to 2008, Mr. Laurin worked for the Parliamentary Information and Research Service where he provided reports, analysis and policy advice to Members of the House of Commons and the Senate and to parliamentary committees on a non-partisan and confidential basis.

Mr. Laurin has authored numerous research studies published by the C.D. Howe Institute and other organizations, and he frequently contributes to public policy debates through seminars, conferences, and media appearances. He is currently a member of the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board of Ontario, an arms-length advisory agency that makes recommendations to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. He is also a member of Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot’s Research and Evaluation Advisory Committee, which provides strategic advice on how to best evaluate the outcomes of the basic income pilot to the Minister of Community and Social Services and the Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy.

He holds an MA in Economics (1998) from Queen’s University and a BSc in Economics (1997) from Université du Québec à Montréal.


Jack Mintz, President’s Fellow, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

Dr. Jack M. Mintz was appointed the Palmer Chair in Public Policy at the University of Calgary and Director of The School of Public Policy 10 years ago.

Widely published in the field of public economics, he was touted in a 2004 UK magazine publication as one of the world’s most influential tax experts. He serves as an Associate Editor of International Tax and Public Finance and the Canadian Tax Journal, and is a research fellow of CESifo, Munich, Germany, and the Centre for Business Taxation Institute, Oxford University.

He also serves on the boards of Imperial Oil Limited, Morneau Shepell and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Dr. Mintz was President and CEO of the C. D. Howe Institute from 1999-2006, a Professor of Business Economics at the Rotman School of Business from 1989-2007 and the Department of Economics at Queen’s University, Kingston, 1978- 89. He was a Visiting Professor, New York University Law School, 2007; Clifford Clark Visiting Economist at the Department of Finance; and Associate Dean (Academic) of the Faculty of Management, University of Toronto, 1993 – 1995. He was founding Editor-in-Chief of International Tax and Public Finance, from 1994 – 2001.

He chaired the federal government’s Technical Committee on Business Taxation in 1996 and 1997 that led to corporate tax reform in Canada. He also has served as chair of the Alberta Financial and Investment Policy Advisory Commission in 2007 that reviewed saving policy of the Alberta government.

Dr. Mintz has consulted widely with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, federal and provincial governments in Canada, and various business and non-profit organizations.


Sarah Noftell, Senior Manager, Indirect Tax, PwC

Sarah is a senior manager in PwC’s Canadian Indirect Tax group with over 10 years’ experience advising financial institution clients on GST, HST, QST and provincial sales tax matters, as well as consulting on insurance premium taxes and excise taxes.  A significant portion of Sarah’s practice involves compliance and advisory services for entities in the financial services sector, particularly in the insurance industry.  Sarah leads implementation of PwC’s Comply First Time indirect tax process automation and analytics solution for financial institutions in Canada.  Sarah services clients across Canada and internationally on a full range of indirect tax matters including indirect tax planning, policy and compliance, assistance and representation in responding to audits and assessments, conducting reviews of indirect tax compliance and systems implementation.  Sarah also provides advice and assistance regarding property acquisitions and transaction planning, to manage complex compliance and recovery matters that arise in the course of restructuring activities.

Sarah obtained her B.Sc. from the University of New Brunswick in 2004 and is also a Chartered Professional Accountant.

Sarah has spoken extensively on indirect tax matters and presented at the CPA Commodity Tax Symposium on numerous occasions on various indirect tax topics, including reporting obligations for financial institutions and the legislation and jurisprudence around the definition of financial services.  Sarah was an instructor at the CPA 2016 Specialized HST/GST: Public Sector Bodies Course.

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© 2019 C.D. Howe Institute. All Rights Reserved.