May 022014

Canadians’ use of tax havens for both legal and illegal purposes appears to be growing despite government efforts to curtail the practice, says a new paper from a tax avoidance watchdog.

Canadians for Tax Fairness says new data shows the use of 10 offshore tax havens by Canadian firms and individuals rose to $170 billion last year, up $15 billion from the year before.

The data shows that Canadian money is flowing into tax havens at a faster rate than investment into non-tax haven countries.

The $170 billion figure almost certainly under-represents the problem, says executive director Dennis Howlett, since Statistics Canada has stopped tracking how much money is being stashed away in the Bahamas, which in 2010 held about $14.5 billion in Canadian money.

As well, Howlett notes the figures only show money being reported and would not capture illegal activities.

The group estimates federal and provincial governments are losing out on close to $8 billion in revenues from the reported use of tax havens alone.

The federal government has joined other advanced nations in efforts to cut down on tax avoidance and cheating, but Howlett says Ottawa hasn’t matched its rhetoric with action. He notes that Revenue Canada has seen deep cuts in staffing over the past few years as part of the government’s public service cutbacks.

The numbers show that about 40 per cent of all Canadian direct foreign investment is held by the finance and insurance industry and that the money flow is mostly into three offshore countries — Barbados, the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg.

  3 Responses to “2014-05-02 Canadians’ use of tax havens grows to $170B”

  1. Regret to say Canadians are no more ethical and possibly less ethical than other parts of humanity.
    Since WWII the training in dog eat dog as a way to succeed has been relentless in the capitalist world.
    We need a Dictator to impose an offshore deposit tax and prosecution of those who help to avoid it.
    Hey!!!! Maybe Justin could do it.

  2. I am laughing, Derek! While you were writing your Comment, I was writing this posting, ISIS and Off-shore Tax Havens.

    We both came down to “Justin”. That poor guy! So much expected of him. Good that he is able to spread the responsibility over his Cabinet. AND us citizens.

    I suspect, maybe without knowing, that J Trudeau has mobilized the rich and powerful in the world – – against himself. By declaring that something will be done about the offshore banking (tax havens) he seriously threatens them. It has to be done – – but Trudeau will not succeed, if we don’t get out and help build support for what he is trying to do. There are too many sharp knives.

  3. Derek – –

    I was curious whether tax havens are explicit in Trudeau’s letter of Mandate to Minister for Revenue Canada. Good news – – they are!

    ” Invest additional resources to help the CRA crack down on tax evaders and work with international partners to adopt strategies to combat tax avoidance.” – See more at:

    (I had read the “Mandate” letter from Trudeau to Minister of Justice. It is excellent. Based on it, I thought that tax havens would be spelt out for CRA, and they are. Good on Trudeau.)

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