Global Days of Action: Uphold tax justice to overcome the crisis

This week, Canadians for Tax Fairness joins other international tax justice groups in calling for progressive tax reform to combat the effects of COVID-19 and rebuild a more equitable future. The Global Days of Action for tax justice runs from Sept 14-17 and involves tax justice advocates from every continent. The international campaign is organized by our ally, the Global Alliance for Tax Justice.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on Canadians lives and livelihoods. Thousands have died, millions lost work, and many more continue to struggle under the mental, physical, social and economic devastation brought on by the pandemic.

The effects of this crisis have been especially felt among the most vulnerable individuals and marginalized communities. Women, minorities, those with disabilities, lower-earning and unprotected workers have been much more susceptible to the virus and its negative impacts. This disparity is even more pronounced for developing nations with less wealth and social security.

Not everyone is struggling. Even in a pandemic, large multinational corporations and extremely wealthy individuals continue to profit off the backs of the poor. For years, multinationals and the super rich have avoided billions in taxes that could be used for social programs to protect the rest of us from the effects of COVID-19.

Adding insult to injury, many of these same corporations are receiving public money through bailouts and other government supports. While early on in the crisis, a handful of European countries vowed not to provide financial aid to companies that use tax havens, most governments have not set any rules to prevent funding from lining the pockets of large corporations and wealthy executives that do not need the help and do not pay their fair share. 

Global Days of Action calls on governments to act now and “tax private wealth to safeguard public health.”  In Canada, the federal government could raise billions in revenues by tackling tax havens, closing tax loopholes for the wealthy, introducing a wealth tax on the super rich, taxing foreign internet giants such as Amazon and Google that pay little to no taxes in Canada, and bringing in an excess profits tax on large corporations that profit during the pandemic.

The government could also help reduce inequality by strengthening and expanding key programs as pharmacare, childcare, employment security, and a Just Transition to quality jobs and a lower-carbon economy.

Especially in poorer countries, foregone revenues from tax dodging could help pay for basic human rights such as healthcare, clean air and water, decent housing, education, and more.

In Canada and around the world we need progressive tax reforms to make sure corporations and the rich pay their fair share and that governments invest in the public services to overcome COVID-19 and rebuild a more sustainable and equitable future.

To get involved in the Global Days of Action, check out the GATJ’s toolkit: