Mamidosewin (meeting place, walking together)

May 18, 2016—Tax Fairness

May 18, 2016—Tax Fairness

Since the spring of 2014, the Senate Liberals have been opening our doors to Canadians through our Open Caucus initiative. The goal of these meetings is to foster nonpartisan discussion on issues facing our country. We invite all parliamentarians, the public and the media to attend.

On May 18th, we invited you to join us in a discussion on tax fairness. Following the Panama Papers and other cases involving Canadian corporations and individuals, one would not be surprised to hear that Canadians are more than ever concerned about fairness in our tax system. Canada’s last major review on our tax system was 50 years ago under the Carter Commission. It was here that Commissioner Carter famously exclaimed “a buck is a buck” and said that fairness should be the foremost objective of the Canadian taxation system.

However, with time and the sophistication of our modern society, our taxation legislation has become more complex. Fifty years after the Carter Commission, does our taxation system need reform again considering that our Income Tax Act has grown to more than 3,000 pages and that we still encounter tax loopholes, tax evasion and tax avoidance. Are there other changes to bring about more fairness and progressivity in the tax system? Is it time for another Royal Commission?

Given the importance of the matter, we invited a panel of witnesses to discuss the issue of tax fairness.

Our panel included:

  • Dennis Howlett, Executive Director, Canadians for Tax Fairness
  • Toby Sanger, Chief Economist, Canadian Union of Public Employees
  • Luc Godbout, fiscalist, professor at the Université de Sherbrooke, Chair in Taxation and of Public Finance Research at Université de Sherbrooke and Chair of the Quebec Taxation Review Committee
  • Joe Boughner, Director of Communications, Association of Canadian Financial Officers


This meeting took place:

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
9:15am – 11:15am
Room 160-S, Centre Block