The removal of gas cards will come January 2020 and status-holders will be required to show new status cards instead.
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,” wrote Ontario Canada.
Ontario Canada noted that this change will reduce red tape, updates the way transactions are processed and retailer refunds will be processed faster with a decrease in applications that are denied.
Another positive of removing gas cards is that it will eliminate the market for stolen gas cards.
Timarah Hill, 23, a resident of Six Nations, said that she visited a gas station on the reserve and found that she wasn’t returned her gas card after the attendant finished pumping her fuel.
“It was the gas attendant,” she said. “He tried to keep it, saying he already gave it back — he didn’t — and my partner had to go right up to the register to get it back.”
This phenomenon comes from the sale of gas cards.
Gas cards can and have been sold to non-Native visitors for a fee of $300-$500 each. This is because many non-Native visitors that visit often want to access the tax break for cheaper fuel.
And when a card is lost or stolen for this purpose, the card-holder can simply fill out an application for a new one and mark the card missing, without any questions asked.
Removing the use of gas cards completely will eliminate the market and maintain safe access to non-taxed fuel.
Ontario Canada said that 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 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.”
Currently, a gas card is given to an attendant, who takes note of the license plate number of the cardholders vehicle and copies the card, then has the cardholder sign for it.
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.