Ontario's fuel tax hike will further isolate remote First Nations in the north

COO Press Release


TORONTO, ON (JULY 24, 2014) - Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy says the fuel tax hike recently announced in the provincial budget by the newly-elected Liberal government will boost airline fares and make it even more difficult for remote communities to access goods and services.

"Remote communities in the north are already feeling pinched by the economy and the high costs of goods and services. This fuel hike will only hurt these communities further," Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy said. "This issue will be very critical to northern communities. They are some of the poorest communities in the province yet they will be hit the hardest."

In a budget tabled last week, Premier Kathleen Wynne proposed to phase in a four-cent-per-litre increase in the aviation fuel tax to 6.7 cents by 2017. The current tax of 2.7 cents per litre has been in place for more than two decades, but would rise by one cent per litre each year.

"The poor living conditions in First Nations communities, together with limited access to medical care, means our people have to travel often to southern clinics and hospitals for treatment for a range of health issues that were created by those conditions in the first place. This is both taxing on the families, the communities and the entire healthcare system. And now, with rising costs, it's only getting worse," Regional Chief Beardy said.

Canada's airlines and airports are gearing up to fight Ontario's plan to more than double the tax on aviation fuel. It's been reported that the estimated revenue of $135-million from this tax during the next three years will be spent on public transit and transportation infrastructure in urban areas.

It currently costs between $1000 to $1400 to fly return from Fort Severn First Nation to Sioux Lookout and over $1600 from Muskrat Dam First Nation to Thunder Bay. A return ticket from Toronto to Paris France is $1200.

The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario.


For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski, Communications

Phone: 807-630-7087 - Email: jamie.monastyrski@coo.org