A report released on Tuesday by Canadian public policy think-tank the Fraser Institute supports that sentiment.
Its Canadian Consumer Tax Index found that the average Canadian family spent 43 per cent of its income on taxes in 2017. It said the total tax bill of the average Canadian family, including all types of taxes, soared by 2,112 per cent from 1961 to 2017.
“Many Canadians will be surprised to learn that taxes – and not life’s basic necessities, including housing – is the biggest household expense,” said Charles Lammam, director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of the index.
“Taxes help fund important public services that Canadians rely on, but the issue is the amount of taxes governments take compared to what Canadians get in return. With 43 per cent of their income going to taxes, Canadians might ask whether they’re getting the best value for their tax dollars.”
The report said the average Canadian family earned $85,883 last year and paid $37,058 in total taxes compared to $30,597 on housing (including rent and mortgage payments), food and clothing combined.
“In fact, the average Canadian family paid more than twice as much of their income in taxes (43.1 per cent) as they did for housing (20.8 per cent). The basic necessities of life, which include food, clothing and housing, amounted to just 35.6 per cent of income – still less than the percentage of income going to taxes,” said the Fraser Institute.
“This represents a marked shift since 1961, when the average Canadian family spent much less on taxes (33.5 per cent) than on food, clothing and housing (56.5 per cent).”
The report also found:
- taxes have grown much more rapidly from 1961 to 2017 than any other single expenditure for the average Canadian family: expenditures on shelter increased by 1,480 per cent, clothing by 732 per cent, and food by 625 per cent;
- the 2,112 per cent increase in the tax bill has also greatly outpaced the increase in the Consumer Price Index (731 per cent), which measures the average price that consumers pay for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, health and personal care, education, and other items.
Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.