The provincial Conservatives could haul in up to $7.7 million through a new tax on telephones to be introduced ostensibly to pay for province-wide 911 emergency service, municipal affairs minister Kevin “Fairity” O’Brien announced on Tuesday.
According to the official backgrounder, the provincial government will introduce a new tax of “less than one dollar per month” on every landline and cellular telephone in the province. At a news conference, O’Brien and fire and emergency services boss Mike Samson estimated there were upwards of 650,000 phones in the province.
Although the release describes the approach as a “cost-recovery” model, neither O’Brien nor Samson would estimate the annual cost of operating the system.
Other provinces use the same approach. PEI charges 70 cents per telephone or working line while Nova Scotia charges less than 50 cents. Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and New Brunswick also tax telephones to pay for 911 service.