Library braces for hit from HST

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While most university departments can take comfort in a tax break with the new harmonized sales tax (HST), the library may be facing a hefty new price tag on its electronic resources.

“It’s going to be an extra stressor,” said Jane Schmidt, manager of the collection services at Ryerson’s library.

The HST will combine the five per cent goods and service tax with the eight per cent provincial sales tax as of July 1, 2010.

With the passing of this legislation comes a new list of products and services where the tax will be applied, including electronic resources at libraries.

The increase in costs for libraries to maintain electronic resources may increase by 1.76 per cent, meaning Ryerson may have to shell out an extra $42,240 in tax.

Schmidt said the library is interested in “ensuring that money is flowed back to the library, because of the benefits the rest of the university will be receiving as a result of the HST.” According to Schmidt, the library has no plans to cancel any of its electronic resources.

Madeleine Lefebvre, chief librarian at Ryerson, said the focus on electronic services are partly due to space constraints and student convenience.

She said that any final figures on the library’s budget are contingent on the provinical budget’s release, slated for the end of the month.

“There are big pieces of the picture that we don’t know yet,” said Lefebvre. President Sheldon Levy said that a report from the Council of Ontario Universities indicated that universities will benefit from the HST.

“Any unit that finds themselves disadvantaged by it, we will have to support them,” said Levy.

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