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Time to tax extreme wealth as Canada’s billionaires grow $53B richer in pandemic

Ottawa (01 Dec. 2020) — Canadians for Tax Fairness revealed that the wealth of Canada’s richest billionaires grew by more than $50 billion between April and October of this year. The information is in a new report by Canadians for Tax Fairness that highlights the need for progressive tax reforms to narrow the country’s worsening wealth gap and help pay for the crisis.

“While millions of households are struggling to survive through the pandemic, our top billionaires have made out like bandits, including some who have cut pandemic pay for their front-line workers,” said Toby Sanger, economist and director of Canadians for Tax Fairness.  “As Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland prepares to table the government’s fall economic statement and consider ways to pay for the crisis and recovery, she should go to where the money is.”

Wealth of Canadian billionaires more than doubled in the last decade

The report makes it clear the income inequality is growing as the wealthiest 1% gain at the expense of the rest of us.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Over the past decade, the number and wealth of Canada’s billionaires has more than doubled. Only the top 1% increased their share of total wealth from 2010 to 2019 while the share of all other groups declined.
  • From April to October, the wealth of Canada’s top 44 billionaires increased by $53 billion, or by more than 28%. All but one of these billionaires grew or maintained their wealth during this period.
  • A progressive annual wealth tax on the richest Canadians, on wealth of over $10 million, could generate $20 billion annually. Other progressive tax reforms such closing tax loopholes and tackling tax havens could raise billions more.

Report shows how federal government can reduce income inequality to help meet costs of pandemic

The federal Liberals committed to identify ways to tax extreme wealth inequality. The report shows how they can meet this commitment, by identifying several progressive tax measures that would reduce extreme wealth inequality and raise much needed revenues. 

“Billionaires have benefited from tax loopholes for the rich, corporate tax cuts, tax havens and the absence of wealth and inheritance taxes in Canada. The Trudeau government now has a golden opportunity to both reduce extreme wealth inequality and generate billions in revenue to help pay for the crisis and the recovery.”