In 2019, the bottom 10% of income earners earned 1.5% of the total income in Canada while paying 0.4% of total taxes. In other words, their tax burden was significantly less than their share of income.
On the other hand, and contrary to the rhetoric on the debate stage Monday night, the top 10% of earners earned 30.6% of all income in Canada but paid 38.1% of all taxes. Unlike the bottom 10%, the top 10% paid taxes well in excess of their share of income — 7.5 percentage points higher, to be exact.
In fact, only the top 20% of earners in Canada pay more in taxes proportionately (54.8%) than they earn in income (47.0% of the country’s total). The remaining 80% of Canadians pay less in taxes than their share of income.
Put simply, the top 20% already shoulder a tax burden well in excess of their proportional share of the country’s income.
So in reality, when we hear candidates push for a “fairer” tax system — which taken literally would mean decreasing taxes for the top 20% — they really want the top 20% to bear an even greater proportional tax burden. That can be called many things, but “fairer” is not one of them.