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Canada's Richest Millennials Call for Higher Wealth Taxes to Help Address Inequality


Why Global Citizens Should Care
If we want to end extreme poverty by 2030, we need everyone to take their share of responsibility in this endeavour. Global Citizen’s Give While You Live campaign was recently launched to call on the world’s richest people to do their part. While philanthropy is crucial in making this happen, some believe a progressive tax system could also go a long way in enabling us to tackle the world's deepest inequalities. You can help by taking action here.

As COVID-19 continues to worsen inequality around the world, a group of young, rich Canadians is determined to help rebalance the scales by calling on the government to increase their taxes, CBC reports.

The group, called Resource Movement, was created in 2015 and is made up of Canada’s 200 wealthiest millennials. Its members, all between the ages of 18 and 40, help address socio-economic inequalities by working towards a fair redistribution of wealth across the country.

Recently, the group has taken things one step further and is calling for the creation of two new wealth taxes: one targeted at the richest 10% of Canadians, as well as an inheritance tax on the top 10% of the richest estates. The group says these taxes could generate $9 billion of funding for housing, health care, and drug benefit programs.

"A wealth tax will have no impact on my life. So, why not?" Resource Movement member Claire Trottier told CBC in an interview. "No one's going to cry for me if I have to give part of my inheritance."

The Montrealer — whose family created the Trottier Foundation and has donated about $10 million to causes such as the environment, health care, and education — also said much more than philanthropy is needed to help achieve equality.

"Our family made a conscious choice to give part of its wealth to society. There are many families like ours who do not make this choice," she added. "A wealth tax is a way to make sure everyone does their fair share."

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Wealth inequality runs deep in Canada. A recent report from the parliamentary budget officer found the top 10% of the country’s richest families owned about 56.7 % of the country’s wealth — meanwhile, the bottom 40% shared about 1.1% of it. 

And, according to the Star, Canada’s 20 richest people saw their fortunes grow by $37 billion during the pandemic. 

While the government has recently introduced a series of measures to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on some of the country’s most vulnerable people, the pandemic has highlighted existing inequalities, with certain groups, such as Indigenous people, women, and the elderly facing a greater risk of living in poverty.

Resource Movement initially set out to launch its tax system reform campaign ahead of the federal budget announcement, which was delayed because of the pandemic. With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s throne speech coming up on Sept. 23, Trottier now hopes the government will seize the opportunity to step up and address these challenges.