• We are finally ready to tackle our cruelly dysfunctional ‘justice’ system — for the wrong reason, but still

    Canada could lead the world to a brighter sociological and juridical epoch if, in the case of non-violent offenders, we replaced community service and Spartan but not incarcerated living for imprisonment, and we would have less recidivism and save a great deal of money doing it.

  • Ottawa is falling short in efforts to fix Canada’s corporate secrecy

    The problem is that the way companies are registered in Canada involves a degree of secrecy more often associated with sunny tax havens, such as Panama and the Bahamas. The true owners of companies registered here don’t have to be identified in corporate registries, which allows them to move assets under a cloak of anonymity.

  • Ottawa Should Reveal $16 billion in Hidden Spending

    Greater visibility in budgets, estimates and public accounts would not make such preferences disappear – plenty of programs that do show as spending in these documents have persisted for decades, and have expanded… changes to the reporting of tax preferences that show their spending equivalents would give Canadians a valuable tool to improve federal fiscal policy.

  • Ontario is proving that taxing the one per cent works

    In Ontario, the average total income of the one per cent grew by 2.5 per cent in 2014 while average federal and provincial income taxes paid grew by 7.2 per cent. Nationally, with similar average total income growth of 2.3 per cent, average federal and provincial income taxes grew more slowly, by 4.7 per cent.
    The faster revenue growth in Ontario suggests that the changes in taxation of high-income earners had a positive impact on government revenue.

  • Canada’s role in ‘snow washing’ money to evade taxes

    In order to get hold of… Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO) identification documents — you need to produce some evidence of apparent wrongdoing on the part of a target company to convince a magistrate to sign a disclosure order or warrant. But having gained access to a Canadian company’s records, you’ll often be faced with a total lack of UBO identifiers. Those UBO identifiers need to be made available: not only to frustrate tax evaders, fraudsters and money launderers, but potentially terrorists, who might use the anonymity associated with underregulated companies to fund their murderous activities.

  • End this needless secrecy

    It can take so long to get records through the FOI process that they become irrelevant. The system stymies the ability of the public, usually through the news media, to know what quasi-judicial bodies like the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission are doing in some of the most controversial areas of public policy.

  • Bill Morneau pledges to spend — but first he has to cut

    If the government plans to spend any money in this budget, it will have to be funded from new revenue sources — and there is likely to be a political cost to tapping those streams… Having ruled out taxing health and dental benefits, he may opt to eliminate the deduction on meals and entertainment that make corporate boxes feasible at hockey games, or kill the age amount tax credit claimed by people aged 65 and over.

  • A real job for the democratic institutions minister

    Don’t just make cash-for-access fundraisers more transparent; end them altogether… Beyond changing the rules… ensure that parliamentary watchdogs are better placed to enforce them… Fix our access-to-information laws – now… The danger of backtracking on electoral reform is that the government may have contributed to the malaise it purportedly sought to address.

  • Out of the Shadows: Shining a light on Canada’s unequal distribution of federal tax expenditures

    This study finds that Canada’s personal income tax expenditures disproportionately benefit the rich and cost the federal treasury nearly as much as it collects in personal income tax. The study examines the income distribution of benefit for the 64 personal income tax expenditures for which there is available data. Out of the 64 tax expenditures, 59 of them provide more benefit to the top 50% of income earners than the bottom half, with the largest share going to the richest 10%. The cost of those 59 expenditures totalled $100.5 billion in 2011 alone.

  • In scathing ruling, Federal Court says CSIS bulk data collection illegal

    The Federal Court of Canada faulted Canada’s domestic spy agency Thursday for unlawfully amassing data, for misusing its surveillance warrants and for not being forthright with judges who authorize its intelligence programs. The court is also revealing that CSIS no longer needs warrants to collect Canadians’ tax records because of changes wrought by Bill C-51.