Employers have complained that paying both the Employer Health Tax and medical premiums this year has amounted to “double dipping,” eating into their bottom line.
Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of the Business Council of British Columbia, said the elimination of premiums will especially help students, retirees and the underemployed, noting those on social assistance and low incomes were exempt from paying the rates.
“A lot of smaller employers did not pay it,” he said of workers who had to cover their own premium costs.
The current Employer Health Tax, despite the elimination of medical premiums, has resulted in a net cost for employers and criticism from some business groups including the BC Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Finlayson said.
However, the health tax is not any different from how some provinces, including Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador, fund health-care costs, he noted.
“It’s a misnomer to call it a health tax, it’s a payroll tax.”