Madam Speaker, after a decade of the Harper Conservative government sending cheques to wealthy millionaires and billionaires and their miserable track record of the growth for the middle class, Canadians made a choice for change.
I would remind my colleague that in 2015 Canadians made that choice. Canadians chose a party that would cut taxes for the middle class and raise them for the top 1%. Canadians chose a party that would send more money to nine out of 10 families, pulling hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty, instead of a party that sent cheques to millionaires.
Canadians also chose a government that would take the fight against tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance seriously. That is exactly what we are doing.
Critical to these efforts are government investments to give the CRA the right tools in this fight, and our engagement and leadership with our global partners, placing us at the forefront of international efforts.
Allow me to bring to the attention of the House some of our recent activities to increase offshore compliance.
We have created a full-time team dedicated to addressing offshore non-compliance. The CRA has also hired additional auditors and increased the number of teams dedicated to scrutinizing the tax affairs of high risk and high-net worth taxpayers.
As of March 31, 2018, for offshore-related cases, audits of more than 1,112 taxpayers were under way and the CRA had more than 41 ongoing criminal investigations for tax evasion.
In 2016-17, CRA actions resulted in 37 convictions, more than 50 years of jail time, and $100 million in court fines.
The agency reviews all electronic funds transfers of over $10,000 to and from four offshore jurisdictions of concern every year. Let me be absolutely clear. We are ensuring that individuals with holdings in jurisdictions such as the Isle of Mann and Guernsey are complying with Canadian law.
In addition, the CRA is reviewing selected neighbourhoods in Canada to better compare lifestyle to income, particularly where corporations, trusts or non-residents own residential property. This work is providing CRA auditors with multiple information sources with which to conduct their audits and improve their efforts to detect potential tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance.
The CRA is also focused on identifying promoters of abusive tax schemes. The agency's work in this area has resulted in roughly $92 million in third-party penalties and, since 2016, against tax professionals who have facilitated these schemes.
We will continue to seek to bring tax cheats to account. That is a priority for our government. We are on track to ensure we keep fighting for this. That is what Canadians expect.