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June 15, 2021

Ontarians: how do you feel about your HST rebate cheque?

If you’re an Ontario resident and don’t earn Lionel Messi-like money, chances are you’ve opened up the mailbox to an HST rebate cheque sometime over the past week.

What you’ve done with it, though, is another matter.

To most Ontarians – and, especially, B.C. residents – the HST is a thorn in your side. It’s a tax grab of the highest order, something that’ll make your gas, heat and tobacco costs soar.

But a rebate cheque at a time when money is tight is, well, a rebate cheque at a time when money is tight. In the long run, this may be your own money that’s being awarded to you, but in the short-term, it’s still money.

So while we contemplate what to do with our HST rebates, it’s worth sorting out just how Ontarians feel about the cheques in the first place.

As has been well documented, Ontario residents are kind of passive over the HST compared to British Columbians. B.C. taxpayers have such a fury over the July 1 move to the Harmonized Sales Tax they’ve almost landed a referendum to reverse the plan.

Though that’s not to say Ontarians are totally lying down. Many are opposed to the HST and, most recently, the rebate cheques sent out by Dalton McGuinty.

“I have just received my HST rebate cheque for $100 which I will return … uncashed and voided,” writes Nepean, Ont., resident Birte Ertmann to the Ottawa Citizen.

“No thank you, I am afraid I cannot afford to accept this attempt to bribe me with my own tax dollars. I encourage all Ontarians to take the same measures.”

McGuinty himself must take offense to such a philosophy. The Premier has been adamant in enforcing his “but the move to HST will create almost 600,000 jobs and decrease your personal income taxes” stance.

But is anyone buying it?

Ontarians: what do you make of the HST rebate cheques, and what will you do with yours?

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...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

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...