Barbados Remains Canada's Top Tax Haven


Canadians businesses that shift money offshore love Barbados.

According to our calculations based on 2016 data, $6 Billion was shifted there in just one year. That brings the total to $68.3 Billion in Canadian money – mostly untaxed – sitting in that one Caribbean country.. That’s a lot of “investment” in an island nation with a population of 285,000.

Canadians for Tax Fairness has been tracking the amount of money shifted offshore for years. And we discovered that 2016 saw a substantial dip in the total amount shifted offshore. A major part of that reduction comes from Ireland which recorded $10B of Canadian investment funds leaving the country in 2016. That’s a story we continue to probe. But the bottom line is that billions are leaving Canada each year headed for tax havens like Barbados, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands.

Barbados continues to be the tax haven of choice for Canadian companies. Some well-know Canadian companies have set up subsidiaries in Barbados – there’s nothing illegal about that. The Canada-Barbados Tax Treaty contains no language that deters a company from setting up for the express purpose of avoiding tax. So Petro-Canada, Gildan, GoldCorp and others take advantage of the tax rules in a country that has been cited by the IMF, the EU and the Financial Secrecy Index .

“It’s time for the Canadian government to review and renegotiate tax treaties with havens that enable this behaviour,” says Dennis Howlett, executive director of Canadians for Tax Fairness. “It is unethical for multinationals to employ practices that are explicitly created to avoid their paying their fair share of taxes while they give CEOs and top managements exorbitant raises.”

There is at least$261 Billion of Canadian corporate money sitting in the top 10 tax havens.