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Many Canadians are worried about how the capital gains tax will affect their access to healthcare, particularly in acquiring or retaining family physicians, according to a new survey.

The recent survey from Abacus Data asked Canadians how the capital gains tax would affect the healthcare system.

Of the 1,500 surveyed between April 30 to May 1, around 58% were aware of the proposed capital gains tax announced in the federal government’s latest budget and only a quarter of those surveyed thought it was a good idea. 

According to the survey, respondents had a “widespread belief that the capital gains tax changes would negatively impact the healthcare system, including increasing wait times for family physicians and possibly leading to fewer family physicians in practice.”

Once respondents were made aware of the capital gains tax proposal, 24% were in favour of it, while another 24% said it was an “okay” idea, while 35% said they were opposed. The remaining 18% responded that they were unsure. 

Another concern outside of losing access to family physicians amongst respondents was increased wait times, with 29% saying these changes will increase their likelihood. 

The respondents’ views were in line with the Canadian Medical Association, which warned the federal government that raising the capital gains tax would jeopardize physician recruitment and retention in Canada last month. 

The association supports the healthcare investments announced in the federal budget but says that the proposed changes to the capital gains inclusion rates will negatively affect physicians, most of whom operate their practice as small businesses.

“These changes could jeopardize ongoing efforts across Canada to recruit and retain a high-quality health workforce,” said Dr. Kathleen Ross, president of the Canadian Medical Association. 

True North previously reported that the budget raises the inclusion rate for capital gains tax from 50% to 66% for individuals on amounts exceeding $250,000. The amendments to the Income Tax Act come into effect on June 25, 2024. 

The Liberals estimate an extra $19.4 billion over the next five years from raising the capital gains tax.

Ross said that many physicians have incorporated their practices. They have relied on their professional corporations to save for retirement instead of employer retirement or pension plans.

“The risk of already over-stretched physicians leaving the profession or reducing their hours in response to heightened taxation is real,” added Ross.