Proposed Amendment to Ontario Regulation 533: Gas Card Modernization
Ontario Reg. 533: GENERAL
Bill or Act:
Gasoline Tax Act
Summary of Decision:
Regulation 533 has been amended to simplify how gas is purchased tax-exempt by First Nation people and entities on-reserve.
Effective January 1, 2020, the Ontario Gas Card will be replaced with the more secure federal Indian status card as proof of entitlement for First Nation people to buy tax-exempt gas on-reserve. Band councils, tribal councils and band empowered entities, will use an Ontario-issued certificate.
This change reduces red tape, updates the way transactions are processed and retailer refunds will be processed faster with a decrease in applications that are denied.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
Amending Regulation 533 was the only option available to modernize the existing Ontario Gas Card Program as the requirements for the operationalization of the gasoline tax exemption are prescribed by regulation.
There are no fees, or upfront operating costs required by the amendments to Regulation 533. From an ongoing operations perspective, some authorized on-reserve gasoline retailers who request tax refunds electronically from the Ministry of Finance will need to update software for their existing POS systems, however the Ministry is working with third party service providers who currently provide this service these retailers to implement these updates at no or minimal cost to the retailers.
Authorized on-reserve gasoline retailers may choose to spend minimal time (e.g., 1-2 hours) learning about the regulation amendments prior to implementation, and this optional learning component will be supported by a communications/education strategy to be developed by the Ministry of Finance.
January 12, 2018
Summary of Proposal:
The Ministry of Finance invites your comments on proposed amendments to Regulation 533.
Based on input that the Province received during an engagement process in fall 2016, the government is proposing to simplify the process for First Nation individuals and bands to purchase tax-exempt gasoline on-reserve.
The government is proposing to eliminate the requirement for and use of the certificate of exemption (Ontario Gas Card) as proof of entitlement to purchase tax-exempt gasoline on-reserve. This change would become effective in 2019.
In place of the Ontario Gas Card, the Ministry of Finance is proposing to accept the following as proof of entitlement for the tax exemption:
• First Nation individuals would use a Certificate of Indian Status, or Secure Certificate of Indian Status Cards, more commonly referred to as 'Status Cards.' This document is issued by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) to a person registered as an Indian under the provisions of the Indian Act. A Temporary Confirmation of Registration Document could also be used, which is an official document issued by INAC while an individual awaits their Status Card.
• Band councils would use a unique identifier which would be issued by Ontario.
Using a Status Card as proof of entitlement for the tax exemption will support the government's 2016 Budget commitments to use a more secure card and to improve customer service and program integrity.
The proposed amendment does not include modernizing the current technological solution used by some on-reserve retailers to process the gasoline tax exemption. The government continues to work towards identifying and implementing the best technological solution to make it faster and easier for authorized on-reserve gasoline retailers to receive their refunds.
The proposal is expected to have minimal or no impact on First Nation individuals and their ability to purchase tax-exempt gasoline on-reserve. Entitlement for the Ontario Gas Card is currently determined based on a First Nation individual having been issued a Status Card, meaning that current Ontario Gas Card holders must already be in possession of a Status Card. In addition, using the Status Cards alleviates concerns raised during the engagement process in 2016, that requiring two cards for the tax exemption is unfair and onerous and that the government should use a card that is already used by First Nation individuals for other purposes.
Impacts to on-reserve retailers would be more operational in nature. Instead of using the Ontario Gas Card to verify entitlement for the exemption, retailers would be required to verify the Status Cards, the Temporary Confirmation of Registration Document or the unique identifier issued to a band by the same manual or electronic methods currently used.
The proposed amendment may require electronic service providers to update their information systems to determine entitlement based on the Status Cards, instead of the Ontario Gas Card. This change is not expected to have a major impact on existing systems, particularly as service providers already use Status Cards to verify sales in other provinces.
The Ontario Ministry of Finance
Program Policy and Analytics Branch
33 King Street W, 6th Flr
Oshawa, Ontario L1H 8H5
January 1, 2020