By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto
In our latest national survey, we asked how Canadians felt about two different tax ideas that have been discussed as part of an approach to helping pay for the costs of the pandemic. Here’s what we found.
On the idea of a 1% tax on wealth paid by people who have more than $20 million in assets, about 8 in 10 (79%) Canadians favour the idea, including 35% who strongly favour it. The idea gets at least 75% support in every region, across all age groups, all levels of educational attainment, and is broadly (73%) supported by households in the top income bracket.
Most Conservative voters (64%) support the idea, as do even more Liberals (86%) and New Democrats (87%).
The second idea tested was “a special tax that would apply to companies whose profits have gone up because of the circumstances of the pandemic.” For these companies, the corporate tax would be double on the profits they earned in excess of their pre-pandemic profit level.”
This idea also found broad majority support (68%), albeit at a lower threshold than the personal wealth tax. Support was fairly consistent across regions, age, education and income lines. A majority of Conservative voters (58%) and larger majorities of Liberal (73%) and NDP voters back this idea (77%).
According to Bruce Anderson: “The extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic and the related costs to government mean that many people are open to time and circumstance-specific taxes, as part of an effort to bring spending back closer to revenue levels. Combined with a pre-existing concern about the gap between the wealthy and others, there is political room to manoeuver for politicians who are looking for options that raise money and seem fair in the circumstances.”
According to David Coletto: “This is not the first poll we’ve done that shows broad support for a wealth tax. There was a cross-partisan, national consensus on this before the pandemic. The economic crisis and the resulting fiscal challenges have likely strengthened support for this additional revenue source.
What’s most striking is the general agreement across the political spectrum about a tax increase. Raising taxes on the rich and highly profitable corporations is one of the few ideas that both progressives and right populists agree on. Both groups are key parts of the Liberal and Conservative parties’ coalitions.”
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The survey was conducted with 1,660 Canadian adults from November 6 to 12, 2020. A random sample of panellists was invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.
The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.
The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.