For every $100 of wealth created in Canada, $34 went to the top 1%

Oxfam says that, globally, the top 1% have grabbed nearly two thirds of all new wealth created since 2020

For every $100 of wealth created in Canada, $34 went to the top 1%
Steve Randall

Wealth inequality in Canada and globally has worsened since the start of this decade, according to a new report.

Oxfam says that almost two thirds of new wealth created since 2020 has gone to the top 1% wealthiest, amounting to US$42 trillion.

As the world grapples with the rising cost of living, the revelation that members of the elite have enjoyed almost twice as much new wealth as the rest of the population will be a bitter pill to swallow.

The ‘Survival of the Richest’ report reveals that Canadian billionaires have increased their fortunes by a collective 51% since the pandemic began.

For every $100 of wealth created in the last 10 years, $34 has gone to Canada’s richest 1% compared to just $5 to the bottom 50%. That means that the wealthiest have made more than seven times more wealth than those in the bottom 50% over the last 10 years.

"Canadians are making daily sacrifices on essentials like food and utility bills, while the super-rich have outdone even their wildest dreams. Just two years in, this decade is shaping up to be the best yet for billionaires," said Lauren Ravon, executive director of Oxfam Canada.

Taxation demand

The report will intensify calls for the richest in society to pay a larger share of their wealth, especially with the current inflation-fuelled crisis for ordinary households.

"Taxing the super-rich and big corporations is the door out of today's overlapping crises,” added Ravon. “It's time we demolish the convenient myth that tax cuts for the richest result in their wealth somehow 'trickling down' to everyone else. Forty years of tax cuts for the super-rich have shown that a rising tide doesn't lift all ships — just the superyachts."

The report highlights the gains made by global billionaires since the pandemic began with their fortunes rising by a collective $2.7 billion a day.

A billionaire gained roughly $1.7 million for every $1 of new global wealth earned by a person in the bottom 90%, while only four cents of every tax dollar comes from taxes on wealth.

Half of the world's billionaires live in countries with no inheritance tax for direct descendants and are set to pass on $5 trillion of tax-free wealth to their heirs, more than the GDP of Africa!

Last year, a Fraser Institute study questioned the notion that Canada’s wealthiest do not pay their fair share of tax. Its report found that the top 20% of income-earning families in Canada pay more than half of total taxes including personal income, sales and property taxes.

Calling on governments

Oxfam is calling on governments to:

  • Introduce one-off solidarity wealth taxes and windfall taxes to end crisis profiteering.
  • Permanently increase taxes on the richest one per cent, for example to at least 60% of their income from labour and capital, with higher rates for multi-millionaires and billionaires. Governments must especially raise taxes on capital gains, which are subject to lower tax rates than other forms of income.
  • Tax the wealth of the richest one per cent at rates high enough to significantly reduce the numbers and wealth of the richest people and redistribute these resources. This includes implementing inheritance, property and land taxes, as well as net wealth taxes.