Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We appreciate the opportunity to present to the committee on this important issue. We've got five minutes.
I'll start by referring to the recent report from Statistics Canada that analyzed income inequality, highlighting the status of the 1%. I'll quote directly from the StatsCan report, which wasn't all that sympathetic to the 1%. It said:
In 1982, the richest 1% of [tax] filers paid 13.4% of federal and provincial or territorial income taxes. This proportion rose steadily to a peak of 23.3% in 2007, then slipped to 21.2% in 2010. The share of income taxes paid by the rest of all tax filers fell from 86.6% in 1982 to 78.8% in 2010.
We get contaminated by media coverage of the U.S. tax system. The straight facts are that the top 1% have been paying an increasing proportion of the federal and provincial income taxes in the country. It's come off a couple of per cent since the financial meltdown. That's a trend no one is talking about.
We also look at overall taxes paid. About 25 million Canadians file tax returns. The top 1% amount to 254,000 people. We're talking about Saskatoon here in a nation of 35 million people. In 2010 those 254,000 tax filers paid $36 billion in federal and provincial income tax. That's nearly six times the amount of tax paid by the bottom 12.7 million Canadian tax filers.
In fact, over 8 million Canadians who filed a tax return paid no tax at all. You have 254,000 people shelling out approximately one-third of their incomes and they're paying nearly six times as much as 12.7 million Canadians who all filed tax returns.
Just for the sake of putting this in a very clear perspective, there are 2,550 in the top one one-hundredth of 1%. We're not talking about 1 in 100 but 1 in 10,000 taxpayers. There are 2,550 of these people in the country. Their average income was over $5.1 million in 2010. They paid almost $1.8 million on average in federal and provincial income tax. That tallied up to $4.5 billion. You have 2,550 people paying $4.5 billion in income tax. You have 12.7 million Canadians paying $6.9 billion in income tax. These are the straight facts, and it's something that parliamentarians need to be aware of.
We'd also like to touch today on the EI system. It's a $25 billion program. It is our best hope for addressing income inequality. It's egregiously unfair to residents of urban areas in the cities of Toronto and Montreal, or any of Canada's major cities. It's not solving the problem of income inequality, it's not giving people a hand-up, and it's probably Canada's biggest economic problem. We'd like to touch on that in the question period.