Briefing

Scheer pledges support for entrepreneurs, but won’t commit to lifting stock-options cap

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Asked after Monday’s leaders’ debate whether he would cancel the $200,000 yearly ceiling on the value of options individuals can claim at a lower rate, which will take effect in 2020, the Conservative leader said his party “certainly [doesn’t] believe in higher taxes.” But he did not commit to cancelling the cap if the Conservatives form government. The current Liberal government introduced the measure in its 2019 federal budget, and a three-month consultation on an exemption for “start-ups and rapidly growing Canadian businesses” ended in September. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Canadian scale-ups have expressed concern that the cap will hurt their ability to hire and retain skilled workers. The Conservatives are the only one of the four major parties not to have taken a position on the stock-options deduction, although Scheer noted that many “high-tech companies” start with “small numbers of people who had foregone paycheques while they’re investing in the company,” and that “raising taxes on innovators” ensures that Canada won’t compete for investments or talent. The NDP and Liberals have both proposed to tax all such gains, although the former told The Logic it will maintain the carve-out for “small and medium enterprises.”