Status Cards Welcome decals reintroduced in Thunder Bay
Chapleau Cree’s Tracey Turner is looking forward to better service after the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce reintroduced its Status Cards Welcome decals.
“There have been times where I’ve felt almost where I’m wasting people’s time because I pull out my status card and the people that are standing behind me in line are going ‘Oh God, like, do I have to wait,’” Turner said. “You don’t feel like you have a right to use that vehicle, that (status) card that has been provided to you.”
The Ontario government announced in 2010 that its existing RST exemption for Status Indians, Indian bands and councils of an Indian band would continue as the province moved to the HST, noting that effective Sept. 1, 2010, Status Indians, Indian bands and councils of an Indian band are entitled to an exemption from paying the eight per cent Ontario component of the HST on qualifying property or services at point-of-sale.
Turner hopes cashiers will now be more familiar with how to use the cash register so it is a quicker process.
“You almost feel embarrassed because you have a status card,” Turner said. “It shouldn’t really be like that.”
Turner has been shopping at the Intercity Shopping Centre since Sears and Woolworths were the main stores.
“It’s nice that they’re finally recognizing that we need to be able to use our status cards when we’re making purchases,” Turner said. ”We spend a lot of money here, which according to the media release (is) anywhere from $254 to $383 million dollars, and that is part of my money that is going to this shopping community.”
A recent study by Thunder Bay Ventures estimated that the Aboriginal workforce contributes from $254.38 million to $383.33 million per year to Thunder Bay’s economy.
“The Aboriginal community makes a significant contribution to the Thunder Bay economy,” said Joe Moses, chair of the Chamber of Commerce’s Aboriginal Opportunities Committee. “It is important to ensure that Aboriginal customers recognize local businesses as an accepting and inclusive place to make their purchases. By displaying this decal, the business is showing Aboriginal customers that their patronage is appreciated and that staff has been trained in proper handling of status card transactions.”
The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce reintroduced the decals during an Oct. 15 presentation at the Intercity Shopping Centre. The decals were originally introduced about 10 years ago.
“It’s a great initiative,” said Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “But I think it’s got to go a bit beyond just having stickers. I think (businesses) need to make sure they have the right systems in place to be able to process status cards fairly quickly, similar to what happened when the harmonized taxes came into place.”
Fiddler said people need to feel welcome or they will shop elsewhere.
“I think the concern is just the delays with all the forms and everything else that goes on,” Fiddler said. “If you don’t have trained staff, there is a lineup of people. Before you know it, there’s five or 10 people behind you that becomes an inconvenience for a lot of people.”
The Status Cards Welcome decals are being mailed to Chamber of Commerce members and are available for pick up from the Chamber of Commerce office.
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