- 1. The Thomson Family (net worth $36.76 billion): Thomson Reuters
- 2. Galen Weston (net worth $13.67 billion): food processing/distribution, high-end department stores
- 3. Garrett Camp (net worth $9.18 billion): Uber, web development
- 4. The Rogers Family (net worth $8.86 billion): Rogers Communications
- 5. The Irving Family (net worth $7.50 billion): Forestry, shipbuilding, Irving Oil
The richest 1 per cent is now wealthier than the poorest half of humanity combined. It is a story that gets repeated every year around this time as Oxfam – one of the world’s biggest poverty fighters – publishes its data on income inequality.(link is external)
Despite earnest statements from the world’s leaders – everyone from the Pope to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – wealth is being sucked to the top at an alarming rate.
Is it because the rich work so much harder than the rest of us? Not likely. Profit-shifting, tax havens, loopholes and corruption are at the base of this trend. Every year there are well-reported examples of how the wealthy use their resources and access to influence the very same politicians and policymakers who should be protecting our interests. Instead, it is the interests of the uber-rich that are guarded as they benefit from laws, unfair taxes and economic policies. Defenders of this practice say that the very rich create jobs and create prosperity. But there is little evidence of that anywhere in the world. Increasingly the rich are making speculative investments, not productive, job-creating investments.
As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, he should commit to combatting the income equality created by bad tax policy and corruption. The most effective first step would be to lead the international charge against tax havens. It’s estimated that $32 trillion of individuals’ wealth sits offshore, tax-free. If tax were collected on the income that this wealth generates, an extra $200 billion would be available to governments each year.
It is estimated that there is $199Billion of Canadian money offshore. It is likely much higher. That translates into at least $8 billion of lost tax revenue each and every year. Government after government ignores the problem. And each year It seems the wealthy get more brazen in their use of the system.
Smart tax policy is an effective way to even things up in Canada. Help us hold our politicians to account.