Gas station in Surrey shows soaring prices in B.C. in recent weeks. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Taxes go up on fuel, booze and cigarettes on April 1

Some ferry riders get a break, B.C. Hydro rates rise 3%

April 1 is a taxing time for B.C. residents, and as of this Easter, nowhere is that noticed more than at the gasoline pump.

With gasoline prices climbing above $1.50 a litre amid fuel shortages and protests against expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline that delivers crude oil and refined fuels to B.C., the first carbon tax increase in seven years takes effect.

The carbon tax goes from $30 to $35 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions, or 1.2 cents per litre of gasoline, bringing the total carbon tax to about eight cents on a litre of fuel. It’s the first of a series of increases agreed to by the B.C. NDP and Green Party to form a minority government, a 66-per-cent increase over four years.

For Metro Vancouver, with a seasonal shutdown of the only remaining refinery in Burnaby and B.C.’s only supply pipeline at maximum, gasoline prices could top $1.60 per litre in the coming weeks, an all-time high.

In Greater Victoria, the regional gasoline tax goes up two cents per litre, the first increase in a decade, approved by the province to finance increased transit service. Including federal, provincial and local taxes, governments collect 43 cents on a litre of fuel in Greater Victoria.

There is a bright spot for some ferry users. Free ferry rides for seniors come back into effect this month, for passenger fares on Monday to Thursday sailings only, fulfilling an NDP election promise from last year. And a 15-per-cent reduction in fares on minor routes also takes effect April 1. Fares on the major Vancouver Island routes are frozen for this year.

The B.C. NDP government tried to freeze B.C. Hydro rates for 2018, but that was turned down by the B.C. Utilities Commission in March. B.C. Hydro rates go up three per cent as of April 1, as planned in the previous B.C. Liberal government’s 10-year rate plan.

RELATED: B.C. Hydro rate freeze refused

Alcoholic beverages are hit with a 1.5-per-cent increase in federal excise tax, and that’s just the start. The Justin Trudeau government’s 2017 budget introduced a new “escalator tax” on beer, wine and spirits, which builds in automatic annual increase based on inflation.

“Tax increases are a political choice, and politicians who make that choice should be transparent about it each and every time, rather than bury it in a legislative formula,” said Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation.

Smokers also get the inflation-based tax treatment. The 2018 federal budget included an increase in tobacco tax, plus an inflation increase. Together those increases translate to 22.9 cents more per pack of 20, and that’s before the latest provincial increase.

The B.C. government budget adds 56 cents in tax to the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes, effective April 1. That brings the total provincial tax to $5.50 per pack, with federal excise tax and provincial sales tax on top of that.

It’s the second provincial increase this year. B.C.’s tobacco tax went up 16 cents per pack on Jan. 1.

And as for home inspection licences, it now costs just under $200 more for a new licence, and $136 more to renew. The Home Inspectors Association B.C. said earlier this year the increase will most likely translate into more costs for the home buyer.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Trudeau announces bioregional oceans protection agreement in Prince Rupert

Agreement announced in partnership with 14 central and north coast First Nations

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Local artist Danika Naccarella commissioned to design artwork for Northern Sea Wolf

The Sea Wolf symbolizes family, loyalty and the protection of those travelling their waters.

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

Most Read