Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.

2012 New Brunswick Budget Submission

Release Date: 02/28/2012
Staff Reference: Peggy McFarland

February 28, 2012

Honourable Blaine Higgs
Minister of Finance
Department of Finance
P.O. Box 6000
670 King St., Room 371, Centennial Bldg
Fredericton, NB E3B 1G1

Dear Minister:

Please find enclosed a submission from the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) on your forthcoming Budget.

Established in 1894, CLHIA represents life and health insurers accounting for 99% of the business in Canada. With the head offices of four life and health insurers located in New Brunswick, the life and health insurance industry is a major contributor to the province's economy. The industry directly employs 3,600 New Brunswickers and has investments in the province of almost $10 billion. In 2010, the industry paid over $1.5 billion in benefits to New Brunswickers through products including supplementary health plans, life insurance, annuities, RRSPs, and disability insurance.

The industry supports the Government's commitment to fiscal responsibility and its plan to reduce expenditures and return to balanced budgets over the next three years. We also support the Government's commitment to maintain a competitive tax system.

This submission recommends that New Brunswick, working with other provinces and pension stakeholders, build on the framework established by the federal government via November's Bill C-25 and enact measures to facilitate the provision of Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs). These arrangements are prudent, efficiently-managed private pension plans, endorsed by all Finance Ministers in December 2010, that would be available to New Brunswick workers, particularly within smaller businesses, and the self-employed, thus vastly improving access to a pension plan for New Brunswickers.

This submission also proposes that New Brunswick introduce a Health Sustainability Tax Credit as a significant step towards reducing health care costs and improving the wellness of New Brunswickers which will reinforce the sustainability of New Brunswick's health system. The Health Sustainability Tax Credit would provide incentives to encourage participation in:

i) supplementary health benefit plans, because these plans reduce current and future financial pressures on New Brunswick’s public system; and

ii) healthy living and wellness initiatives, because healthy lifestyle choices avert health problems and the resulting pressures on New Brunswick's health system.

CLHIA appreciates the opportunity to contribute to New Brunswick's pre-budget consultation process. My colleagues and I stand ready to provide any additional information that would be helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by

Frank Swedlove

Lengthy document. Please refer to the pdf for the entire submission.