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McGuinty Government Encouraging Bikes

Published November 11, 2007

TORONTO, Ontario (BRAIN)—The Ontario government is helping families get more active with a retail sales tax exemption for bikes and helmets.

"We want to encourage more Ontarians—young and young-at-heart—to get outdoors, spend time riding bikes as a family and with friends, or to try riding to work if possible, leaving the car at home," said Premier McGuinty. "Together, we're building a culture of health and well-being across Ontario by encouraging more families to embrace active living."

Starting on December 1, the Ontario government will exempt bike helmets and other safety equipment from retail sales tax (RST). Bikes costing $1,000 or less will also be exempted.

"Increasing the affordability of quality bikes for children, youth and those considering cycle commuting sets the stage for a lifetime of cycling," said Pete Lilly, president of the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada and owner of Sweet Pete's Bike Shop. "As an independent bicycle retailer, I am most interested in getting more people to ride bikes more often—it's not only good for my business but
benefits us all through cleaner air and a fitter Ontario."

Providing a point-of-sale exemption for bicycles and bicycle helmets from the RST is just one of the ways the McGuinty government is helping Ontarians stay healthy.

Other initiatives include:

* Requiring 20 minutes of daily physical activity and banning the sale of junk food in schools.
* Giving every Ontarian the right to be free from second-hand smoke with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which bans smoking in public spaces and workplaces.
* Protecting the Greenbelt, 1.8 million acres of greenspace.
* Creating the Ontario Trails Strategy to develop a
world-class system of diversified recreational trails.
* Retail Sales Tax exemption for nicotine replacement

"I hope [this] announcement will mean a few more families can afford to ride together," McGuinty said. "And I hope a few more Ontarians will decide to try commuting by bike instead of by car."

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