New report shows role tax system must play in fighting climate change

October 26 2023

A new report from Canadians for Tax Fairness shows how the tax system is undermining efforts to meet climate commitments and reduce income inequality. The report found that the tax system rewards those responsible for the bulk of the emissions causing climate change. That must end if Canada is going to meet its targets for curbing the emissions responsible for climate change.

90% of Canadians have reduced their emissions, but the 1% haven’t

The report shows that the bottom 90% of Canadians have reduced their emissions by 4 tonnes per person since 1990. In contrast, the top 1% of Canadians increased their emissions by 34 tonnes per person.

Research has already shown that allowing the share of wealth held by the 1% to increase is bad for society. What this report shows is that it’s also bad for our planet.

Tax fairness can help minimize the impact of the transition to a green economy for low- and middle-income Canadians

Broad progressive tax measures, such as introducing a wealth tax, and fully taxing capital gains, can fund the direct public investment needed to meet Canada’s climate goals. This would also ensure the biggest contributors to climate change pay for its costs. The report also cautions that the federal government’s new package of green investment tax credits could achieve little in terms of climate action if not properly designed.

“Canada can absolutely afford to spend what it takes to transition to a green economy, but we can’t afford to make the same mistakes that have exacerbated inequality. The climate and inequality crises are 2 sides of the same coin, and the tax system has a significant role to play in correcting the course,” said Katrina Miller, executive director of Canadians for Tax Fairness and co-author of the report.