Most young Canadians don’t think high-income earners should pay more taxes
New polling data suggests that most younger Canadians disagree with the Trudeau government narrative that high-income Canadians don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes.
This narrative has guided federal tax policy since the Trudeau government was first elected. In 2016 the government raised the top federal income tax rate from 29 per cent to 33 per cent, claiming it’s “only fair” that top earners pay more so others can pay less. In 2022 it targeted high-income earners again by introducing a luxury tax on automobiles priced at more than $100,000.
Most recently, the Trudeau government raised the minimum income tax rate that higher-income Canadians must pay annually, saying it will “ensure the wealthiest Canadians pay their fair share of tax.” And the government may also be considering a wealth tax.
With this in mind, the poll (conducted by Leger and published by the Fraser Institute) found that many Canadians reject the narrative that the “rich” don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes. Interestingly, younger Canadians seemed the least convinced of this narrative.
When asked if there are some Canadians who don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes, less than half (49 per cent) of Canadians aged 18 to 24 agreed compared to more than 50 per cent in all other age groups. Out of those groups, the oldest Canadians expressed the most support. Almost nine out of 10 (86 per cent) Canadians aged 65 and over agreed that some Canadians don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes.
And yet, few Canadians young or old expressed much support for raising taxes on the top 20 per cent of income earners. Only 32 per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 24, and 33 per cent aged 65 and over (and no more than 40 per cent of Canadians in any age group) said that high-income earners should pay more in taxes.
These attitudes may not be surprising given how much the top 20 per cent of earners already pay. According to a new study published by the Fraser Institute, top income-earning families pay roughly 62 per cent of the country’s personal income taxes and more than half (53 per cent) of total taxes.
The Trudeau government should listen to younger Canadians about their views on Canada’s tax system. Empirical research has found that increasing taxes on high-income earners discourages entrepreneurship and innovation, and weakens Canada’s ability to attract high-skilled workers. By committing to this “tax the rich” narrative, the federal government is stifling economic growth and holding back Canada’s economy.
Younger Canadians are least convinced by the federal narrative that high-income earners don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes. The Trudeau government would be wise to listen to them and stop raising taxes on Canadians.