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MEDIA RELEASE: Lack of digital tax deadline in Fall Economic Statement alarming

21 novembre 2023

Photo: Nave Ozzurba

Digital Giants e-commerce apps by James Yarema on Unsplash

For immediate release: November 21, 2023

OTTAWA – Canadians for Tax Fairness is calling on the federal government to provide a clear date for introducing Canada’s long-overdue digital tax. 

“Canada has been promising to tax multinationals like Meta, Google and Amazon for years now. The absence of a firm deadline in the Fall Economic Statement for imposing the digital tax is terribly troubling,” said Katrina Miller, executive director of Canadians for Tax Fairness.

The Fall Economic Statement notes that “forthcoming legislation would allow the government to determine the entry-into-force date of the new Digital Services Tax, as Canada continues conversations with its international partners.” 

Years of discussions through the OECD to reform international tax rules have not resulted in meaningful tax reforms. Canada must press ahead with unilateral action to ensure large digital giants pay their fair share.

Despite some limited measures to improve affordability, today’s fall economic statement fails to address two critical aspects of our cost-of-living crisis: corporate accountability and inequality.   

“For over a year now, households have watched prices climb alongside corporate profits while their government stood by, ignoring the common sense of many European countries that have brought in windfall taxes and even the advice of its own Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food to tax excess profits. This is a major missed opportunity to hold corporations accountable for their role in making life less affordable,” Miller said.

In terms of other tax measures, Canadians for Tax Fairness welcomes the removal of tax deductions to curb short-term rentals, but remains concerned about the government’s reliance on investment tax credits to transition to a green economy.

“Our latest report shows decades of tax advantages have reduced oil and gas extraction companies’ taxes by 40% since 2010 with no proof of emissions reduction. In order for tax credits to work, we need direct government investment to lead the way. Without stronger conditions around these tax credits and new progressive tax measures, the government’s green spending will continue to enrich the wealthiest few with no guarantee of a just transition,” Miller said.

Data this month from Statistics Canada shows inequality worsened as the richest 1% grew richer. 

“Just as we saw during the pandemic, when it comes to the affordability crisis, Canadians are not ‘all in this together’. The government has the tools it needs to fix inequality through the tax system,” Miller said. 

A wealth tax and fully taxing capital gains would help redistribute excess wealth and invest in programs to ease the inflation burden for many Canadians on the edge, such as a long-overdue national pharmacare program. Closing the capital gains tax loophole would also help discourage housing speculation and cool prices.

“Taking on additional debt isn’t necessary, nor are cuts to spending. We have the money available. We’re just not taxing it,” said Miller.

Media contact:

Erika Beauchesne, Communications Coordinator, Canadians for Tax Fairness | 613-315-8679


Photo: Nave Ozzurba