FREDERICTON (GNB) – Finance Minister Cathy Rogers was among the federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers who met in Ottawa this week to discuss the economy and fiscal environment, as well as other matters of national importance, including a proposed taxation framework for cannabis.

“I was pleased to meet with my counterparts and discuss important issues that are impacting New Brunswickers and Canadians,” said Rogers. “The cannabis taxation agreement in principle will address our national and provincial objectives of keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth and the profits out of the hands of criminals.”

The federally administered framework aims to ensure taxes on cannabis are low; the higher of $1 per gram or 10 per cent of a product price. Initially, the tax revenue would be shared, with 75 per cent going to provincial and territorial governments and 25 per cent to the federal government. The federal government’s share would be capped at $100 million and any additional revenue would be shared among the provinces and territories.

“We will continue to work with our stakeholders, including municipalities, as we work towards the federal government legalizing recreational cannabis,” said Rogers.

In addition, an agreement in principle was reached on improvements to supplementary benefits within the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). While CPP is primarily a retirement income plan, there are also provisions that allow for child rearing, in addition to disability, survivor and death benefits. Proposed improvements to these benefits would be undertaken within currently legislated contribution rates, with no additional costs to contributors. Regulations were also agreed upon that would aim to ensure the long-term sustainability of this enhancement. The proposed changes would take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Ministers also agreed on the importance of safeguards to prevent the misuse of corporations and other legal entities for tax evasion and other criminal purposes. An agreement in principle was reached to make best efforts, through ministers responsible, to put forth legislative amendments to ensure corporations hold accurate and up-to-date information on beneficial owners, and to eliminate the use of bearer shares and bearer share warrants. The business community and other stakeholders will be engaged in this process.