The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canada’s tax system is fair, efficient, competitive, and functioning as intended to make sure that our economy is working for the middle class and all Canadians. While it would not be appropriate to speculate on future tax policy decisions, the Government’s record demonstrates that it has delivered on this commitment in many ways:
One of the Government’s first actions was to raise personal income taxes on the wealthiest Canadians in order to cut taxes for the middle class. Over nine million Canadians are benefitting from the reduction of the second personal income tax rate to 20.5% from 22%. Single individuals who benefit are saving an average of $330 each year, and couples who benefit are saving an average of $540 each year.
In its first budget, the Government introduced the Canada Child Benefit. Compared to the previous child benefit system, the new Canada Child Benefit is simpler, much more generous, and better targeted to families who need it most. The CCB is also entirely tax-free. Nine out of 10 families are receiving more in child benefits than they did under the previous system, and hundreds of thousands of children have been lifted out of poverty. A typical middle class family of four is now receiving, on average, about $2,000 more per year in support than they did in 2015, as a result of the middle class tax cut and the Canada Child Benefit.
To put more money in the pockets of low-income workers, Budget 2018 introduced the new Canada Workers Benefit (CWB). The CWB is replacing the Working Income Tax Benefit beginning in 2019, and will encourage more people to join or stay in the workforce by making the benefit more generous and more accessible.
The Government has taken action to implement changes resulting from its wide-ranging review of tax expenditures. This included measures to improve tax relief for caregivers, students, and persons with disabilities.
The Government reduced the federal small business tax rate from 10.5% in 2017 to 9% in 2019. For small businesses, compared to 2017, this means up to $7,500 in federal tax savings each year—savings that they can reinvest in purchasing new equipment, developing new products, or creating new jobs. As the Government reduced the small business rate, it took action to make sure that this low rate is not used by some to gain unfair tax advantages as the expense of others.
In the fall of 2018, the Government introduced immediate changes to Canada’s corporate tax system that will further support investment, jobs and growth in Canadian businesses, creating opportunities in communities across the country.
In each of its budgets since coming to office, the Government has taken action to improve the fairness of the tax system through measures to prevent underground economic activity, tax evasion, and aggressive tax avoidance. In Budget 2016 and Budget 2017, the Government invested about $1 billion to support the efforts of the Canada Revenue Agency in this area. These investments are expected to add over $5 billion in additional federal revenues over six years. Budget 2018 announced additional funding of $90.6 million over five years to support the CRA in its continued efforts to ensure taxpayer compliance.
The Government has also taken action to close tax loopholes that result in unfair tax advantages for some at the expense of others. More broadly, the Government has engaged with international partners on an ongoing basis to combat aggressive international tax avoidance, including through enhanced sharing of information between tax authorities.
Going forward, the Government’s tax policy agenda will continue to be guided by the objective of a fair tax system that benefits the middle class and those working hard to join it.