Advertisement
Canada markets closed
  • S&P/TSX

    21,581.35
    +64.45 (+0.30%)
     
  • S&P 500

    5,473.17
    -13.86 (-0.25%)
     
  • DOW

    39,134.76
    +299.90 (+0.77%)
     
  • CAD/USD

    0.7305
    +0.0008 (+0.10%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    82.34
    +0.77 (+0.94%)
     
  • Bitcoin CAD

    89,110.75
    +120.64 (+0.14%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,361.46
    -21.20 (-1.53%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    2,373.60
    +26.70 (+1.14%)
     
  • RUSSELL 2000

    2,017.39
    -7.84 (-0.39%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    4.2540
    +0.0370 (+0.88%)
     
  • NASDAQ futures

    19,786.00
    -133.25 (-0.67%)
     
  • VOLATILITY

    13.28
    +0.80 (+6.41%)
     
  • FTSE

    8,272.46
    +67.35 (+0.82%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    38,633.02
    +62.26 (+0.16%)
     
  • CAD/EUR

    0.6821
    +0.0034 (+0.50%)
     

Majority of Canadians say capital gains tax changes will make healthcare worse: Survey

More than 60% expect longer waiting lists for family doctors, specialists and referrals

A health worker uses a stethoscope to examine a child.  (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A majority of survey respondents say Canada's capital gains tax changes would probably or definitely lead to fewer physicians becoming family doctors. (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images) (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Most Canadians believe changes to capital gains tax rules announced in the 2024 federal budget will have a negative impact on the healthcare system, with issues around family doctor and specialist access of particular concern, according to a survey by Abacus Data.

More than 60 per cent of those surveyed say the tax changes would probably or definitely lead to fewer physicians becoming family doctors and longer waiting lists for family doctors, specialists and referrals.

The survey was paid for by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), which represents physicians in Canada and has declared itself “deeply concerned” about the tax changes. The government plans to tax Canadian companies and individuals on two-thirds of their realized capital gains, up from 50 per cent. (For individuals, only gains over $250,000 would be taxed at the higher rate.)

ADVERTISEMENT

We must not create more roadblocks that will add further stress to the health workforce or prevent prospective physicians from choosing to practise in Canada.Dr. Kathleen Ross, CMA president

In a statement, the CMA says many family physicians run their practices through a corporation. It is lobbying for “an exemption for medical professional corporations,” which, it says, “is needed to stabilize and future-proof access to community-based medical care.”

In the statement, CMA president Dr. Kathleen Ross says the association has heard from members who feel “betrayed, discouraged and deflated” by the tax measures. “We must not create more roadblocks that will add further stress to the health workforce or prevent prospective physicians from choosing to practise in Canada.”

The capital gains tax changes have been a magnet for criticism since the budget announcement, with many business groups voicing opposition or seeking changes. Others have welcomed the move, with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives economist David Macdonald noting they've long advocated for the individual-level increase. "If your capital gains are over $250,000 per year, you can afford to contribute more to public services—it’s a question of fairness."

In the survey, 24 per cent of respondents say the capital gains tax changes were a “good” or “very good” idea, while 35 per cent say the idea was ”bad” or “very bad.” Another 24 per cent say the idea was “OK” and 18 per cent were not sure.

A majority of respondents thought a negative impact was probably or definitely likely on a number of different aspects of the healthcare system:

  • Longer waiting lists for family doctors (64 per cent)

  • Longer waiting lists for specialists and referrals (61 per cent)

  • Fewer physicians becoming family physicians (61 per cent)

  • Fewer specialist physicians (60 per cent)

  • Family physicians moving to other areas of medicine (54 per cent)

  • Fewer retirement savings options for physicians (54 per cent)

  • Physicians retiring earlier (54 per cent)

The poll also provided details to respondents about the ways in which family physicians commonly structure their businesses. With that information shared, the proportion of respondents who say the government should exempt “healthcare providers who run a community-based medical clinic” from the changes increased from 20 per cent to 28 per cent. The proportion who feel the proposal should be scrapped grew from 29 per cent to 33 per cent, while the proportion who feel the proposal should be passed decreased from 20 per cent to 16 per cent.

The survey canvassed 1,500 Canadian adults between May 6 and May 8. Abacus Data notes “the margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.”

John MacFarlane is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jmacf.

Download the Yahoo Finance app, available for Apple and Android.