Military looking into loss of tax break for Canadian soldiers in Kuwait
Published Thursday, February 9, 2017 11:13PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 9, 2017 11:42PM EST
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says he’s instructed Canada’s top soldier to look into the loss of a tax break for soldiers serving at a base in Kuwait, who were told their duties weren’t dangerous enough for them to qualify.
“The Chief of Defence Staff is going to do some more work on this and make recommendations to me,” Sajjan told reporters Thursday.
The tax break is given to soldiers who fall under certain criteria related to the risk of their duties and the relative hardship of their living conditions while deployed overseas, and is worth between $1,500 and $1,800 per month.
Fifteen soldiers at Camp Arfijan in Kuwait lost the tax break last fall because the military downgraded their risk level. But the soldiers have argued they face the same level of danger as other Canadian troops in the country.
Another 300 Canadian soldiers in Kuwait will lose the same tax break in June.
“It is not reasonable to say that Camp Arifjan has no risk,” an anonymous soldier told CTV News.
Defence sources told CTV News they’re frustrated because tax decisions are ultimately up to the Finance Department and Treasury Board.
All three departments are now under pressure to find a solution.
Conservative defence critic James Bezan slammed the Trudeau government in the House of Commons, asking why the prime minister was “betraying our brave men and women who are in the fight against ISIS.”
Sajjan said they were “committed to looking after our men and women – including their compensation.”
Canada’s policy is less generous than the United States, whose soldiers in Kuwait qualify for a tax break -- including those working alongside the Canadians.