BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Autumn, 2021
Corporations and the wealthy have been getting a free ride while we pay the bill
The number of wealthy Canadians who don’t pay any income taxes is growing year by year It was bad enough to start with. The pandemic has made it even worse. While thousands of ordinary people lost their jobs and faced financial ruin or even homelessness, the people who already had the most raked in even more.
In 2020, the median salary for CEOs of Canada’s largest companies increased to $7.65 million. And that was “topped up” with stock packages with a median value of $2.89 million. About one third of top executive compensation is these lesser taxed shares and stock options.
Fewer and fewer of them pay any income tax at all. The Canada Revenue Agency has acknowledged, “It is possible for individuals classified in the upper income ranges to reduce their tax liability to zero by using deductions....”
Most people would likely agree that everyone, including corporations and the wealthy, should pay their fair share of taxes. If they’re paying less or nothing at all, the rest of us end up paying more.
Despite that, our current tax system seems deliberately designed to help the rich avoid taxes and get richer. And it gets worse. Instead of even enforcing the existing rules, the Liberal government has cut the number of audits of large companies and wealthy Canadians by 30 per cent between 2016 and 2020.
Small wonder the super rich are doing better than ever. Since the first pandemic lockdown in 2020, Canadian billionaires have increased their wealth by $78 billion.