Scheer’s Tax Credit Proposal to Boost Public Transport Use

Canadian conservative leader Andrew Scheer recently suggested that revival of a tax credit that will save money and urge more citizens to use public transportation options. Named the Green Public Transit Tax Credit, Scheer’s proposal also seeks to combat climate change.

The proposal aims to impose a 15% credit that will be applied to “the costs of weekly and monthly transit passes and frequently used electronic fare cards.” By 2020, the credit would amount to $229 million and $308 million by 2028, according to estimated by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

According to CBC, this proposal is nothing new. A similar tax proposal was made by the Tory government with the same claims. Experts agree that the proposed policy can result in favorable effects.

However, these specialists emphasized that the benefits to be expected once the policy is passed will be minimal.

A similar policy was also proposed by Stephen Harper’s administration in 2006 but was written off by Justin Trudeau’s government because it is deemed “ineffective.” Andy Byford, CEO of Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) during that time, expressed his disappointment saying that it “undoubtedly had a positive impact on TTC Metropass sales and ridership growth.”

Scheer said that a family of four transit riders will be able to save around $1,000 annually. This supports his claim that the tax credit would indeed help riders save money on transport.

However, experts remarked that the policy is doomed to suffer the same fate as its predecessor. The previous version of the proposal contributed a small amount to the promised increase in ridership. Canada Research Chair Nicholas Rivers said that the increase amounted to 0.3% and 0.02% overall.

It also had little impact on minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.

Rivers also said that the policy can result in higher costs.