Canadian Senator to Parliamentary Budget Officer: Investigate Tax Havens

Liberal Senator Percy Downe has written Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, asking that he investigate the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) failure to apply sufficient resources to fight overseas tax evasion.

The PBO has a mandate to advise Parliament about how taxpayers money is being managed and “to provide independent analysis (to MPs) about the state of the nation’s finances.’’

Senator Downe is vice-chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International and a member of the Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. 

He has been pursuing the matter of offshore bank accounts with Revenue Minister Gail Shea for several years.  When C4TF met with him earlier this month, he was more than curious to hear about how little control CRA appears to have over examining offshore accounts.    

It is estimated Canada loses billions each year because of explosion of tax havens. 

Statscan figures show that overseas investment in tax havens is at an all-time high. But in May, Revenue Minister Gail Shea acknowledged that the CRA has not increased capacity to counter aggreessive international tax planning.  

Last year $130 billion Canadian dollars were diverted to the top five havens alone. 

C4TF met with Senator Downe earlier this month to discuss the spiraling impact of tax havens on the Canadian economy. 

We’ll keep you posted.