The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is launching an independent review of the Canadian tax system, examining how it can be reformed to foster growth and help Canada recover from the economic shock of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Canada will have to walk a fiscal tightrope between the need to reduce debt and deficits and supporting economic growth,” said Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, in a release last week.
“The fastest and least painful path to recovery is by encouraging business investment and job creation. Reconceiving our tax system to rebuild our economy will be critical to Canada’s ability to recover from Covid-19’s impact.”
The chamber announced a public consultation process for the tax regime review and struck a panel of “special commissioners” consisting of eight business, tax and economic experts to lead it. They are:
- Tabatha Bull, CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
- Gael Campan, senior economist, Montreal Economic Institute
- Carole Chouinard, partner, Gowling WLG
- Pamela Cross, partner, BLG
- Frances Donald, chief economist, Manulife
- Jamie Golombek, managing director, tax and estate planning, CIBC
- Jack Mintz, president’s fellow of the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary
- Trevin Stratton, chief economist, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
The commissioners will solicit ideas on potential tax reforms, draw on their own expertise and consider ideas outlined in 50 Years of Cutting and Pasting: Modernizing Canada’s Tax System, a report produced by the chamber last year.
The chamber hopes an independent review will spur the Canadian government to tackle comprehensive tax reform, which it suggests is 60 years overdue. The review will be modelled on the Mirrlees Review in the United Kingdom and the Tax Working Group Review in New Zealand, both independent, non-governmental reviews whose recommendations were later adopted by public officials, the group says.
“Economic fundamentals have shifted significantly across the globe, and Canada will not be exempt from the impacts of a long and uncertain recovery,” Stratton says. “We must mobilize private capital to rebuild our economy, not just public dollars. An independent tax review will help identify what needs to happen to grow our economy out of this crisis and generate the revenue needed to pay for pandemic spending.”
The chamber has five public consultations for different regions beginning next week and ending Sept. 2. A preliminary report based on the consultations will be released in early October 2020. That report will form the foundational document for the tax review process, the group says.