Advocacy

Proposed federal tax changes

Senate Committee appearance expresses physician recruitment and retention concerns

On Nov. 21, 2017 Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS) appeared before a Senate committee to advocate for physicians regarding the proposed changes to how private corporations are taxed.

Doctors Nova Scotia made a written and verbal submission to the committee, articulating a clear rationale for the association’s opposition to the proposed changes to how private corporations are taxed. 


The submission cites:
  • The history of physician incorporation in Nova Scotia and how it became part of physicians’ overall compensation package
  • The unintended impact the tax changes would have on the province’s ability to recruit and retain doctors and on patients’ ability to access care
  • Current physician recruitment and retention challenges, as well as the number of Nova Scotians without access to a family doctor and the number of family medicine and specialist vacancies expected over the next 10 years
    • Nova Scotia has the highest personal taxes in the country and the province’s physicians are paid in the bottom third in the country
  • Results from a survey of 864 physicians:
    • 56% of physicians who responded to the survey indicated that they know a colleague who will leave the province if the proposed changes are enacted.
    • 52% of respondents indicated that they are considering moving their practice or professional activities to another jurisdiction if the proposed changes are enacted.
    • 43% of physicians who responded to the survey indicated that they’ll consider reducing the number of hours they dedicate to their practice or professional activities if the proposed changes are enacted.
    • 42% of respondents indicated that they will consider changing their practice profile (that is, cease offering less remunerative services) if the proposed changes are enacted.
Appended to the submission was Doctors Nova Scotia’s position paper on the issue and a report on the physician town hall meeting.

Doctors Nova Scotia will continue to advocate for physicians on this issue in the days ahead.

Physician Town Hall

Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS) held a town hall meeting in Halifax on Sept. 23 for doctors to share their concerns about proposed federal tax changes

About 400 people, including medical students, residents, and practising and retired physicians, as well as their family members, packed the cafeteria at Halifax West High School.

Physicians expressed concerns about the unintended impacts of the proposed tax changes – that the changes will affect the province’s ability to recruit and retain doctors and make it more difficult for Nova Scotians to access care.

The proposed changes will remove tax saving and tax deferral benefits now available to private corporations. About 75 percent of physicians in Nova Scotia are incorporated, which means the changes would have dramatic consequences for patient access and physician recruitment and retention in the province.

Physicians in Nova Scotia are already feeling overburdened, undervalued and disrespected by the provincial government, and by the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA).

Moderated by family physician, Dr. Maria Alexiadis, the town hall included panellists Drs. Leo Fares, Ken West, Tim Wallace and Lisa Bonang, who each shared personal stories and encouraged other physicians in the audience to come forward and share their experiences and their concerns about the proposed tax changes.

Results of the physician survey on the proposed tax changes

Local MLAs from all parties and one Member of Parliament, Lisa Raitt of Milton, Ont, addressed the crowd, promising to take the issues to their colleagues.

Full report on the event

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