Both governments and corporations are using various kinds of inducements to encourage individuals to make good decisions for their health and other purposes. Policy makers tend to like rewards: they point people in what’s judged to be the right direction without commanding them to do anything. Educational campaigns extol healthier choices. Incentives offer tangible support for them.
These incentives and tax breaks are likely to come up in conversation in the lead up to the upcoming Federal election, from all the parties, and I think that an ongoing discussion of the results, and costs, both in Canada and the US, is important.
We are used to the tax system rewarding certain activities by providing preferential treatment: savings for retirement (RRSPs), for education (RESPs) and housing (no capital gains on principal residences), Children’s Fitness Tax Credit (CFTC), even traffic tie ups. But are they working and can we afford them? I am looking forward to the discussion with Christine, Kate and Sharon on the 25th February on the show.
Bill Bogart is a Toronto-based international expert on reducing the harm of risky behavior, society and Canadian law. He is the published author/editor of 7 books including Permit but Discourage: Regulating Excessive Consumption (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011,) Regulating Obesity? Government, Society, and Questions of Public Health (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013,) and is at work on his next book on the decriminalization and regulation of recreational drugs due for publication next year. A regular contributor to Huffington Post, Bill is often called on to comment on, and give background to current events regarding the regulation of consumption. www.wabogart.com