How will the House of Commons look at Income Inequality in Canada?

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 9.56.24 PMEveryone has been talking about it: academics for at least a couple of decades; think-tanks and international organizations like the OECD and the IMF as well; and even—at least since the Occupy Wall Street movement went camping—the average taxpayer.

And now, after having adopted a motion introduced almost a year ago by Scott Brison, the honourable Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants, the House of Commons has charged its Standing Committee on Finance to also talk about it: yes, Virginia, Committee hearings on “Income Inequality in Canada” have begun.

Can there be a topic that is least likely to garner consensus among our Members of Parliament than taxes and inequality? Little wonder they are so late to the conversation.

On Thursday the Committee held the second of at least three hearings. Among its terms of reference is to “examine best practices that reduce income inequality and improve per capita gross domestic product.” If the written briefs posted on its website and some of the witness statements to date are any indication, the Committee has its homework cut out for it. At first look these are lofty of principle, short on prescription.

Continue reading “How will the House of Commons look at Income Inequality in Canada?”

Tax policy for equality and social mobility

The Canadian House of Commons has charged its subcommittee on Finance to examine income inequality in Canada.

More specifically the Committee’s mandate is to produce a report that will:

  • review Canada’s federal and provincial systems of personal income taxation and income supports;
  • examine best practices that reduce income inequality and improve per capita gross domestic product;
  • identify any significant gaps in the federal system of taxation and income support that contribute to income inequality;
  • identify any significant disincentives to paid work in the formal economy that may exist as part of a “welfare trap;” and
  • provide recommendations on how best to improve equality of opportunity and prosperity for all Canadians.

Its website contains the written submissions received by the April 5th deadline.

I will appear as a witness in a televised hearing beginning at 8:45 EDT on Thursday April 25th, 2013.  The other witnesses slated to appear at the same meeting are listed here.

You can view it all here as Meeting 116 if you have an interest.

A copy of my written submission is available as a pdf: Corak_Submission_to_Finance_Committee.