April 7, 1916 (12th Parliament, 6th Session)


William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)


This matter was discussed last night when my hon. friend was not in the House. This Bill could not be made to apply to those companies because they are not domiciled in Canada, and have no offices in Canada. They are for the most part, New Epgland mutual companies. Even if they had offices here, it is not probable that they would be liable to assessment under this Bill, because being mutual companies they would not have profits. The question is not a new one, it is an old one, and it has been suggested that as the Dominion Government has no power to directly tait those companies, domiciled, as they are, outside of Canada, a tax should be imposed upon the premiums which are paid by the parties in Canada who take out policies of insurance with such companies.
It is recognized that the Dominion cannot reach them directly and it is suggested that they should be reached indirectly by a direct tax upon the insurers here, that is to say, upon the manufacturers and business people generally throughout the country who place insurance with these unlicensed companies. As I pointed out last night when the matter was up in 1910, there was an acute controversy about it. My predecessor was unable to deal with it. A Bill providing for a tax upon the premiums on insurance policies placed with these

companies was passed by the House of Commons but was rejected 'by the Senate. So, the matter is one of acute controversy between the insurers on the one hand and the insurance companies on the other. It would not be possible, under the provisions of this Bill, to deal with the case. As I said last night, there is no doubt a good deal to be said in favour of the position which the insurance companies of Canada ta'ke. They say: We pay a license fee to do business in Canada and we are taxed in Canada; why should we not be protected against the unlicensed companies which take out no licenses, and pay no taxes in Canada?

Full View