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June 29, 2021

Mobile site shows Ontarians just how HST gouges them

Say what you will about Ontario’s change to HST, but at least they’re doing their best to be up front about it.

No, not up front about the bit that any new business tax breaks may come at the cost of the consumer, or that the government has allegedly been bribing Ontarians with their own money in the form of HST rebate cheques. No, not that.

Instead, against all else, the Ontario government has done at least a fair job of letting us know what consumer goods will be subject to the new Harmonized Sales Tax. And now they’ve gone mobile.

Ahead of Thursday’s HST switch in two of Canada’s most populous provinces, the Ontario government has launched a mobile-friendly site (type “ontario.ca/hstmobile” into your phone’s web browser) to show Ontarians what taxes will increase under the new change and what ones won’t.

The site, for all the vitriol towards provincial workers these days, is actually quite handy. After a couple of run-throughs, it appears to operate quite efficiently on your smart phone to tell you just what’ll be more expensive next month.

Of course, the bad news is that the site is yet another reminder things like heating/electricity, domestic airfare and dry cleaning will cost more come July 1.

But, this is hardly new information at this point, so why not be well informed that your wallets will soon be lighter?

The mobile site is actually part of a social media blitz by the Ontario government, which has also opened up its own YouTube channel with videos about all the jobs the HST will create, as well as a handful of other political speak vids likely to make Ontarians upset.

The B.C. government, by contrast, has this trusty PDF to show what products/services will go up in cost, but by my count they've yet developed no such mobile offering.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...