Always wanted to know about personal taxes in Canada. What are they in?
Also, how do you folks like your health care? Is it true that it is not completly free and in some cases people need to pay for it?
It would be great if Canadians can give us an insight.
Taxes are pretty high, especially here in Quebec. They are quite a bit lower in Alberta, for example. Overall I’d guess that most Canadian pay more taxes than you Americans do.
You’ve got income taxes, retail taxes (generally two, one federal and one provincial); gas has an extra tax, as do alcohol, cigarettes and even, in Quebec, tires (3$ per new tire, supposedly to pay for recycling.)
You can reduce your income taxes somewhat by contributing to a “RRSP”, somewhat equivalent to the US 401k, if I’m not mistaken. Money you put in your RRSP is deducted from your gross salary for bracket determination.
As for health care, pretty much everything is free. The only exceptions I know of are for cosmetic surgery and for some “experimental” or extremely new treatments that haven’t been approved (yet).
The concept is nice, but the execution sucks. These last 10-15 years, the costs have skyrocketed. With the aging population; expensive drugs and people living longer and longer I’m not sure we can afford the system much longer. A recent figure quoted 43% of our total yearly budget allocated to health care costs. Also, waiting lists have become quite ridiculous (many months of waiting in some cases, even for fairly serious ills like cancer and heart disease); although the situation has improved somewhat in the last few years.
There is a growing movement afoot to have a parallel “private” health care that might alleviate some of the current problems. Of course, many don’t want of this “two-speed” system; although it works well enough for our schools. I feel it is pretty much inevitable; private clinics have even started to appear in the last year (at least here in Montreal, don’t know about the rest of Canada…). While technically “illegal”, there has been no move from the government to have them closed down.
If you go to these clinics, then it is true that it’s not completely free; you’ll pay for treatments or diagnostics that you receive at the clinic. Having a choice is nice though; since we previously had the ridiculous situation of being able to pay to have our dog examined by a vetenarian within hours or days, or our cars repaired in a timely manner; but had to wait for months for some potentially life-saving treatment even if we could afford to pay for it.
Many of the richer folks would simply drive down to Vermont where there’s a florishing private medecine business. Many clinics over there have Quebec doctors who got fed up with the system and simply left.
The other major thing that our taxes buy us is free education. School is nearly free (you’ve got to buy your own books and pencils) up to collegiate level. This varies from province to province; with some having higher admission fees at some level. Private schools are also available, and part of the fee they charge is used to finance the public school system.