Three-quarters of Canadian physicians own and operate a private corporation, usually in the form of a clinic or family practice. They hire employees, pay rent, and purchase equipment in order to practise medicine. As small business owners, many physicians do not have access to employer benefits or pensions. Physicians depend on a fair tax environment to be able to continue to invest in their practice, care for patients and save for retirement.
The CMA has been a longtime advocate of tax fairness for physicians and other medical professionals. In the 1950s, when physicians didn’t have access to employer-sponsored registered pension plans, we lobbied the government for a way physicians and other Canadians could contribute to their retirements — leading to the creation of the registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) in 1957.
In 2017, when the government announced plans to change Canada’s small business taxation framework, the CMA took swift action to help them understand the negative consequences it could have on physicians’ ability to operate a viable medical practice and the potential impacts on patient care. As a result, the government amended its proposal and adopted a more nuanced, less restrictive approach to small business taxation.
More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant financial impacts on physicians across the country — from loss of income to increased child-care costs to expenses related to self-isolating. The CMA acted to provide physicians with expert financial guidance on eligibility for COVID relief funding, and advocated to ensure different practice models could qualify for federal and provincial fiscal stabilization measures.