On March 24, 2022, the Saskatchewan government announced that they will be implementing a 6% tax on gym-goers starting in October 2022.
Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) is opposed to this tax. If implemented, the tax will deter individuals from focusing on their mental, physical, immune, and social health.
Fitness is a part of Canada’s healthcare recovery – especially post-pandemic.
This tax would be an extra provincial sales tax on top of gym memberships. This is something that we do not want for our industry. The reason for this tax is to offset the provincial budget in Saskatchewan by including gym memberships to be taxed in the same category as tobacco, which does not make any sense!
The increased taxes will add $35 million dollars to the budget to address the backlog of surgery and hospital beds caused by COVID-19.
“They want to balance the budget at the expense of health,” says Sara Hodson, President of Fitness Industry Council of Canada. “Our physical and mental health has deteriorated over the last two years and physical activity is essential to reverse this. We have to be part of the healthcare solution. This tax will prevent many Saskatchewanians from joining a gym.”
In 2012, research was conducted at Queen’s University in Kingston that found the cost of physical inactivity in Canada was 6.8 billion dollars – from direct health care costs to higher mortality rates and lost productivity. The FIC is asking the federal government to make gym memberships tax-deductible in the federal election – citing the cost-savings of a physically active population. “We believe the true cost of physical inactivity is much higher now,” says Hodson.
“This budget appears to be short-sighted and reinforces a downstream approach to the health of our residents,” says Brenda Yungwirth, the owner of LIVE WELL Exercise in Regina; “The rationale is to support the surgical waitlist and recruit health care staff. If healthy activities such as gym memberships were instead promoted, our residents would become less dependent on health care treatments. Ironically, by adding PST to gym memberships, an additional deterrent to health care promotion and disease prevention is being established.”
Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) is the not-for profit trade association that represents the voice of fitness facility operators across Canada. Representing more than 6,000 facilities with more than six-million members nationwide, FIC pursues a legislative agenda in the hope of bettering the fitness industry for both consumers and operators. FIC aims to work with both industry and government to improve the health and physical activity levels of Canadians.