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A recent report by Canadians for Tax Fairness revealed that Canada’s top billionaires increased their wealth by more than $50 billion during the pandemic – an increase of 28%.
Millions of Canadians have been struggling under COVID-19 while the country’s top billionaires have profited.
Canada’s top billionaire, David Thomson and his family, have become $10 billion wealthier during the crisis. Another top billionaire family, the Westons, increased their $11.1 billion fortune by an additional $1.7 billion– even as the family’s Loblaw empire cut pandemic pay for frontline workers.
The numbers confirm an alarming trend: wealth inequality in Canada is getting even worse. In the past decade, only the top 1% have increased their share of total wealth in Canada while the share of all other groups has declined.
Canada’s tax system has contributed to the excess concentration of wealth in the hands of the few. We are the only G7 country without an estate, inheritance or wealth tax. This has enabled some of the richest families to hoard extreme amounts of wealth that are passed down from generations. For decades, large corporations and the ultra-rich in Canada have also taken advantage of tax loopholes and tax havens that allow them to pay even less tax.
Cuts to corporate and business taxes have also enriched the wealthiest, because most of the assets of the wealthiest are held in corporations. Increased concentration of wealth among families and individuals at the very top has gone hand-in-hand with greater corporate concentration, with a few larger corporations dominating to the detriment of smaller and medium sized businesses, and of the public.
With Canada well into the second wave of the virus, the federal government needs to make significant investments to protect Canadians’ health, well-being, the environment, and the economy. To pay for our recovery, we need everyone to pay their fair share of taxes.
Our report found that a modestly graduated wealth tax on the richest Canadians could generate $20 billion annually. With other complementary tax reforms, such as closing tax loopholes and an excess profits tax on corporations that profit from the pandemic, the government could raise many more billions to help pay for the crisis and programs to help struggling Canadians.
Please sign our letter below urging the federal government to:
-Introduce a wealth tax on the richest Canadians
-Apply an excess pandemic profits tax
-Close tax loopholes for large corporations and the wealthy