Resistance and the Bunny

Well, you wouldn’t read it if I called it Resistance and the Industry Codes. First, the resistance. By this I don’t mean anything worthwhile, like resisting oil pipelines or industrial water extraction. I am, or so I say, working on a difficult story, and I would do anything other than write it. The word for the feeling of dread as one approaches one’s desk is called resistance, as is leaving that desk several hours later with no progress. I would do almost anything other than write this particular story, including an analysis of a four-page appendix to the Business and Professional Income tax guide, called Industry Codes. Seriously, the list of Industry Codes is interesting. Oh, and if you are wondering, yes, I do my own taxes.

I wish the industry codes, a list of the activities or services by which the self-employed make a living, had existed when I was 24. To have had a list of all the ways to spend my time other than the way that I have chosen!
The codes first appeared in the Business and Professional Income Guide of 1994, and writers were placed under Retail Sales or Services: Other. There we were, along with athletes and janitors and photographers. In 2018’s Guide, we are Entertainment: Independent artists, writers and performers. What would I have written if I had started out knowing that fiction was an entertainment rather than a serious literary endeavour?

In the 24 years since the codes appeared, Entertainment has expanded from 7 codes to 23. While this expansion mainly subdivides existing categories, there are some new entries, such as Internet broadcasting. Oddly enough, video games are not considered Entertainment (listed as Communications: Video game publishers, and again as Business Services: Video game design and development services).

For years I have wondered why writers aren’t considered a profession, as if it were a calling, like the priesthood. Drooling over the list of professions, I notice something creepy: a trend to replace single noun professions with modifiers of services. In 1994 you could be an Architect or a Veterinarian as a profession, but in 2018 you are diminished to Architectural services and Veterinary services. Lawyers have become Offices of lawyers and Offices of notaries and Other legal services. There is one noun that has stayed the same, however — florists (Other Retail Stores: Florist). Even barbers and beauty shops have disappeared into Personal Care Services. And why, oh why, would you change Gambling Operation to Gambling Industries? How is gambling an industry? Gambling, along with escorts and horse racing, are also in the Entertainment category — writers have always kept good company.

Surprises? Yes. Below florists is a new entry: Cannabis stores. The 2018 Guide merges Business codes with Farming and Fishing industry codes, so maybe the next few items are new only to me, but they now include: Cannabis grown under cover, and Cannabis grown in open fields. Puzzlingly, Field Crops also include orange groves and citrus. Where in Canada is it warm enough to grow oranges and lemons? Did you know we also grow rice and cotton?

I hate doing my taxes almost as much as the story that I am not working on, which might be why I am pouring over the industry codes. Straying into Natural Resource Industries, I find a new entry: Water, sewage and other systems. Is this the controversial water extraction for bottling, or does it mean water purification services? Here also we find: Hunting and trapping. But what’s that over there? Farming: Fur-bearing animal and rabbit production. Bunnies! Maybe I shouldn’t do my taxes on Easter weekend.


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