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Calls for wealth tax after report shows richest Canadians amassed billions during COVID-19 crisis

Some of the richest people in Canada have amassed an average of $2 billion each since strict COVID-19 lockdown measures were put in place in March, a new report claims.

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ (CCPA) assessment, which is based on data from Forbes, shows 20 billionaires in the country collectively increased their wealth by $37 billion over six months.

The analysis is based on the billionaires’ reported wealth in March and September.

<who> Photo credit: CCPA

The authors of the CCPA report are pushing for a wealth tax and a crackdown on tax havens, policies they claim will create more fairness in the Canadian economy.

“At the same time as billionaires like Loblaws owner Galen Weston have seen their wealth balloon, front-line workers stocking shelves and scanning groceries at his stores have continued to risk their health and that of their loved ones by coming into work,” said lead author Alex Hemingway, an economist and public finance analyst at CCPA’s BC Office.

Hemingway and his fellow author, Michal Rozworski, point out that, according to the latest official figures, 1.1 million fewer people are employed compared to pre-COVID times.

<who> Photo credit: Canadian Press

“Throughout this pandemic, we've been told ‘we're all in this together,’ but our research shows this is far from true," Rozworksi, who is a CCPA-BC research associate, said.

“It’s clear the wealthy minority lives in a very different world than the rest of us.”

Hemingway added that both “an emergency, one-time excess wealth tax and an annual wealth tax should be on the table.”

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