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Industry applauds Liberal promise to eliminate swipe fees on sales tax

The Convenience Industry Council of Canada (CICC) is encouraged by the Liberal Party’s campaign commitment by the  to eliminate the swipe fees paid on sales tax for processing credit cards payments.

“Today’s announcement constitutes a significant win for small business in Canada, and something that the convenience industry has long been advocating for,” Anne Kothawala, president & CEO of the Convenience Industry Council of Canada, said last month after the announcement.

“We encourage all federal parties to recognize the importance of small businesses, like convenience stores, to the Canadian economy and adopt similar proposals to mitigate the damage caused by spiraling credit card fees.”

In a release, the CICC explained: “The convenience industry is unique in that we are key revenue collectors for governments. In 2018, the convenience industry collected more than $22 billion in taxes on heavily taxed products such as fuel, lottery, tobacco and alcohol.”

In turn, the CICC estimates its members paid interchange fees of $73 million, or $6,888 per store that sells gas on the GST portion of sales alone: As the taxes charged on these products increases, so too does the cost of processing their payment.

“This is money that small business owners would have otherwise used to reinvest in their business, hire new employees, or save for their family’s future,” said Kothawala, adding: “There is no retail sector dealing with as many products that have multiple layers of taxes added before the addition of GST and PST than the convenience industry.”

Kothawala emphasized that convenience store owners should not be out of pocket because they are required to collect taxes for the government and said the CICC will continue to advocate for “prudent fiscal policies to prevent the unintended consequences of excessive tax on products consumers buy, and the cost to our members of collecting the tax paid on those products.”