BC government can stimulate economy by focusing on climate change, tax relief

VANCOUVER, Sept. 29 /CNW/ - Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is urging the BC government to focus on measures to address climate change and create a fair and competitive tax policy. In its pre-budget submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, IBC pointed to concrete measures that would address the need for fiscal stimulus while leaving a lasting legacy of prosperity for British Columbians.

The submission identified key areas where government action can help strengthen the BC economy while enhancing the ability of private home, car and business insurers to deliver innovative and effective risk management solutions to consumers and businesses.

    Climate Change

The BC government has the power to protect BC residents from the potentially devastating effects of climate change by making a significant investment in what IBC calls "invisible" infrastructure.

"Nationally, we have a $12 billion deficit in spending on sewer and wastewater infrastructure. This is an obvious area for investment that has largely been overlooked," said Lindsay Olson, Vice-President, BC, Saskatchewan & Manitoba, IBC. "Though we applaud the BC government for its commitment to infrastructure renewal, more can and must be done to get municipal water management systems ready for much greater volumes of precipitation than we've seen in the past."

    Tax Measures

The submission also encouraged the government to promote a healthy business environment in the province by providing tax relief, particularly in the highly taxed insurance sector, and by ensuring that the planned harmonization of the GST and PST does not have unintended negative impact on businesses and consumers. While the P&C insurance industry has welcomed the decision to introduce the HST as good for the economy, IBC is recommending that the government consider measures to mitigate the effects on the cost of delivering insurance products.

"Short-term stimulus investments can be done with a view to the longer-term needs of the province," added Olson. "By focusing stimulus on the areas we've recommended, the government can achieve its short-term goals while putting BC in a good position to thrive when the economy turns around."

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent nearly 95% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 110,000 Canadians, pays more than $6 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $38 billion.

To view news releases and information, visit the media section of IBC's website at www.ibc.ca.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: For further information: Serge Corbeil, (604) 684-3635 x223

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