Tax Justice Round Table and Research Symposium


McGill University, Faculty of Law, New Chancellor Day Hall, Doctor Penfield Avenue, Montreal

May 29 and 30, 2013

Co-sponsored by McGill University Faculty of Law, Halifax Initiative, Canadians for Tax Fairness, Inter Pares, CSQ, CCPA, and the Progressive Economics Forum

The Tax Justice Research Symposium aims to bring together academic researchers and graduate students, investigative journalists and campaigners to exchange information on tax justice research being done, identify research needs and gaps and develop strategies to facilitate research and collaboration between researchers and campaigners.

Note: The law firm of Stikeman Elliot is hosting a cocktail reception on May 29 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the close of the Canadian Tax Foundation meeting which takes place just before the Public Round Table. They have extended an invitation to their cocktail reception to participants registered for the May 30 Tax Justice Round Table.

Tax Justice Round Table (open to the public, simultaneous interpretation provided) 

May 29, 2013   7:30pm to 9:00pm at McGill University Faculty of Law,  New Chancellor Day Hall, Doctor Penfield Avenue, Montreal

Moderator:        Prof. Allison Christians, McGill University, Faculty of Law


John Christensen, Director, Tax Justice Network (United Kingdom)

Alain Deneault, researcher and founder of the Tax Justice Network Quebec (participation through a short video recording)

James Henry, Chairman, Coordinating Committee, Global Alliance for Tax Justice (USA)

Frédéric Zalac, investigative reporter at Radio-Canada and a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists who were the source of the "Offshore Leaks"

Diana Gibson, President, Canadians for Tax Fairness

Tax Justice Research Symposium (by invitation and registration only, working language will be English) 

May 30, 2013, 9:30 to 17:00 McGill University Faculty of Law, New Chancellor Day Hall, Doctor Penfield Avenue, Montreal

9:30  Welcome and Introductions

Presentation: Global Research Agenda on Tax Justice, John Christensen (Tax Justice Network, UK)

10:00 Discussion of Tax Justice Research Topics

Proposed Topics for Discussion:

Each topic will be introduced by a campaigner summarizing the key related campaigns planned or underway and what some of the research needs are that have been identified. This will be followed by brief presentations by one or two researchers summarizing the research they are doing related to this topic and/or what research they know about that is being done as well as what some of the key questions they think are worthy of further investigation. This will be followed by group discussion. 

a) Making Corporations Pay Their Fair Share of Taxes (including: taxation of extractive industries, revenue sharing with aboriginal groups, transfer mis-pricing, double non-taxation, international corporate taxation policy options, Unitary Tax, Corporate mobility and location decisions, exposing corporate tax cheats. etc.)

11:15 Coffee Break

b) Taxing Inequality (including: What measures are required to restore tax progressivity? Use of tax havens by individuals and associated revenue losses. Personal tax rates and taxpayer exodus – myth or reality? Elasticity of taxable income with respect to marginal tax rate. Inheritance tax – revenue losses and potential gains if re-instated. Capital gains rates and associated revenue losses. Impact of consumption taxes/VAT on poor households.)

12:30 Lunch

1:30 Concurrent Topics for Discussion

c)  Provincial and Municipal Fiscal Challenges and Solutions (including fiscal crisis of provincial and municipal governments including demographic challenges of  financing health and education and infrastructure, tax options, resource and property tax reform, tax competition between provinces)

d)   Closing Tax Loopholes and Tax Reform (including: identifying most egregious tax loopholes, estimating revenue losses/possible gains and specific alternative policy proposals, simplifying the tax system in a progressive way, tax expenditure analysis.)

14:45 Break

15:00 Concurrent Topics for Discussion

e)   Tackling Tax Evasion and Avoidance (Estimating the tax gap, Policy challenges in terms of how to limit tax avoidance, Tackling Tax Havens, Forensic accounting, Strategies for going after tax cheats.)

f)    Taxing to Save the Environment (Carbon taxes, cap and trade and other ways to put a price on carbon, ensuring progressivity of tax, How to make consumption tax (and environmental tax) socially more acceptable? luxury goods taxation etc.)


 g)      What are the tax justice research gaps? How to facilitate research and collaboration?

17:00 Closing

Note: We are looking for volunteers to make short discussion starter presentations for each topic. Ideally we would like one campaigner and one researcher. And we are open to adding other topics. Please contact Dennis Howlett at, Peter Gillespie at or Allison Christians at with your suggestions or if you need more information.

There is a $25 registration fee for the Symposium, except for faculty and staff of McGill Faculty of Law. The Symposium includes a lunch and coffee breaks.

Registration will be limited to a maximum of 50 participants.

Please register online by May 23 at: